Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Personal and Project Changes

Some of you may have noticed that I have been less active on IRC (and in general) recently. The reason is that I was in the US for some job interviews. And the reason for that is that, as already mentioned on this blog, it looks like the business side of Syntensity won't work out, at least for me. So I can't continue to work on it fulltime as I have been for almost 2 years.

I still believe there is a lot of business potential here. But it would take someone with more industry contacts, business development skills, and money in the bank, than I do. Syntensity's technology works very well - I am very happy with it, and I think others are too - but I guess I was too optimistic about finding business partners and people to invest money in the venture and so forth.

Syntensity is open source, though, and that means anyone else can try to use it for a profitable business. And in fact some people are, and more will probably follow. (For more on that, and licensing changes, see below.)

I just signed a contract with one of the companies I interviewed at, and I'm going to start that job very soon, which I am very excited about (this blog post isn't about my new job, though, so I won't go into more detail now). But I am by no means leaving this open source project - I will continue to work on it in my spare time. I feel that this is a reasonable time for me to decrease my involvement, as
  • The engine is feature-complete, at least for v1.0. More stuff would be nice, and will be added (in particular I'll work on finishing experimental stuff like Bullet, but also entirely new stuff that can be useful), but actually there is a lot of potential not even used by the current games. I have said it on IRC several times, what Syntensity really needs now is not more features, but more games.
  • The engine is stable. Bugs are found, but most are in experimental features. The core stuff has been used daily for several months now, with few issues (and what issues did arise, have been resolved).
  • More people are getting involved in development, in various ways. Hopefully the dev team will expand.
  • There is a growing group of users that are helping others, which is a very good thing.
Basically, the engine is in a fairly mature state, and the community has come a long way from where it began. I would have been worried had I decreased my involvement before or around the 1.0 launch (and in fact that is one reason why I only started looking for a job recently), but now I have a very good feeling about the future of the project. And it is a healthy thing for the project as well, not to rely too much on a single person, at least once it gets to the proper stage - which I think it has. Also, after almost 2 years, it is time for a change for me personally, and I believe the new job I will soon start will be a great opportunity for me to do both interesting and important work, alongside some great people.

Some important stuff about Syntensity:
  • Now that my personal business goals are irrelevant, the Syntensity/Intensity Engine name split is not really necessary (it was inspired by things like StatusNet/identi.ca, which clearly separate the open source project from a commercial use of it). So, henceforth the Intensity Engine may also be called the Syntensity Engine or just Syntensity. I won't bother to go through all the code and docs to change every reference to "Intensity Engine" to "Syntensity", but Syntensity is now the preferred name (it's shorter, and easier to google for). Note that syntensity.com will remain up of course, as a 'hub' for Syntensity game development, hosted by me, without change.
  • I will be changing the licensing of the Intensity Engine/Syntensity, from GPL3 to the (new) BSD. Some of the reasons have already been mentioned in previous blog posts. Another is for the following reason: Allowing commercial use is a major goal of Syntensity, but for games that means non-GPL licenses are a must (you can't run GPL code on consoles, etc.). Dual-licensing with the GPL is possible, and was the general idea so far. But since I will have significantly less time for this project, and the business opportunities of dual-licensing no longer relevant for me, it doesn't make sense to deal with the complexities of dual-licensing (copyright assignment to some central entity, etc.). It is just simpler to move to the BSD license for all involved.
  • Once I start working, I will be much less on IRC. However, I will of course continue to be active on the Forums, so feel free to use that in order to contact me, for stuff both important and nonimportant.


  1. I'd like to point out that I'd much rather you license a BSD license out to people wanting it, rather then switching from the AGPL. Because I feel that is a very important aspect for the engine as a whole.

  2. Congratulations on the new job!