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SimCity 5 will be powered by the Glassbox-Engine. If we want to use the engine for building own simulations, what will be the price for a license?

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(Semi-offtopic, why the GlassBox engine and not another engine, what features do you require for your project?) – Roy T. Dec 6 '12 at 11:50
Thanks! The reason why we considerted Glassbox as an engine was the simulation-centered design ... and we try to build simulations of different systems of a city for educational purposes ... which engine would you recommend? – Heinrich Dec 6 '12 at 12:03
How much any one item will cost in the future is only going to get answers the are pure speculation or answers that will be inaccurate very quickly. This question is not constructive. – Byte56 Dec 6 '12 at 15:44
Thank you! We need to know if we can afford that engine ... if it is 100 K$, it would be out of budget ... and in general if a license is sold at all (I'm not (yet) allowed to edit the question) – Heinrich Dec 6 '12 at 15:49
You can use something like NetLogo if you are interested in Agent Based simulation using a simple scripting language. – Grieverheart Dec 7 '12 at 11:45
up vote 5 down vote accepted

The company I work for are in talking with EA about using the engine, they are not interested in anyone using it until the release of the game. I'd imagine it will be a per-case basis on which they sell a "license" to use it, and probably some sort of royalty contract too.

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I don't think EA will sell/license the GlassBox engine to anyone. Having created an engine for your own game, for internal use is something totally different from creating an engine for other people to use. I haven't heard of EA making GlassBox to sell it and having finished an engine doesn't mean you can just start selling it:

The tools have to be polished a lot more, internally you can learn everyone to work around a few quircks but when you release it you are expected to have polished them out. You have to create extra documentation, maybe even set up a few introduction lessons, take care of managing customer relations, provide support for problems, etc.. etc... This is usually not worth it unless you expect a lot of interest from other developers. (Of course EA is likely to use the Engine on other projects of their own studios but that is a lot easier since people still expect internal tools and the people who can solve your problems are always next door)

This is why only a few big companies license there engines, and they usually create the engine specifically for this purpose. For example look at Epic with their Unreal Engines. Usually ID also releases their (tools for their) engine, but look at their latest game, RAGE where they (still?) haven't released the tools, even though they initially planned so, because they were only good enough for internal use.

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We can just assume and I'd say only EA can tell... haven't seen any public offer or anything like that. Plus the question is whether they'd want to share it with a possible contender. :)

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Thanks, we won't be a contender, it's "just" for an educational game" – Heinrich Dec 6 '12 at 10:31

I'm not aware of any indication from EA or Maxis that they would be interested in licensing this engine to anyone for any purpose.

RoyT's comments about tools and the engine's readiness for external use are 100% correct.

From experience with other popular engines, the licensing seems to start at about $100k and go up from there, and can include a % of revenue.

However, I also know that every single engine license agreement can be negotiated and almost always are negotiated to take into account the specifics of that developer and their plans or expectations.

IF you can make a genuinely compelling business case for them licensing the engine to you, it is certainly possible. It really can't hurt to ask, at least. But I would expect the answer to be a polite 'no' regardless of the nature of your proposal.

That's actually good news because I believe it would be a mistake. The other well-known engines like Unreal and CryEngine are ready to go right now. You can download them and be actually writing code today. There is already masses of documentation and tutorial videos, there are thousands of people who already have years of experience using these things.

Most of all, the content tools are very mature and reliable and have already churned out thousands and thousands of levels, models, scripted events, and other game assets.

The benefits of all this stuff far outweighs the possible benefits of the SimCity engine already being targeted toward simulation.

What's more, I can promise you that you will find the simulation-specific parts of the SimCity engine will turn out to be useless for your purposes for any one of a hundred different reasons. I say this, not because I know your requirements and the engine's abilities (obviously I know nothing of either), but after 25+ years in the software business this is a pattern of events I've watched unfold too many times to count.

Go with the known quantities that are already industry standards and have a ready pool of talent, information, and tools. Delivering a finished game is already very difficult but trying to use the SimCity engine would make it much more difficult than the alternatives, even if EA was willing to do it.

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