It is legal to use Blender to sell a game?


#1

I know there is some few Blender or Upbge games sold on Steam like Caveman Story or Krum.
Armory is in the same category as it keeps many Blender things when you want to distribute a game.

Are not some Blender Apis licenses conflincting with commercial usage and distribution ? Is that really legal ?


Armory or UPBGE?
#2

I’m not a license expert, but, both Blender and Armory go by the GNU license and since those games don’t get claims from FSF, it seems to be legal.


#3

In either case it’s legal to sell your game. The problem with games made with BGE/UPBGE is that they directly interface with Blender and the Blenderplayer being GPL - thus games produced from this is also GPL. You can package and sell your game, but legally I think anyone could buy your game and freely redistribute it (Because of the Blenderplayer).

That is not the case because of the way Armory works, as the end product (game) is Zlib licensed, and not GPL - The reason this can work is because Armory works by sort of porting/translating your entire blender scenes from Blender and the python API’s to Kha/Iron/Haxe/Krom. At your end product made with Armory, there’s no traces of the Blender API’s or Blender source code. It is due to the same reasons that EEVEE is GPL Licensed, but Cycles is Apache Licensed.

But in either case, yes it is legal to sell a game on steam made with Armory and BGE/UPBGE - But:

  • It is also legal to buy a BGE steam game, pirate the game, release the source code and do with it what you want. All within the legal limits of GPL. As per GPL, people can actually request the source code for your stuff (To a certain degree, depending on how you bundle your stuff - There are ways to circumvent that: https://blenderartists.org/t/sell-blender-game-on-steam/637025).

  • You are NOT legally required to do this with a closed-sourced Armory game. The Zlib license ensures that you can sell/distribute/close-source your products the same way as with Unity/Unreal etc.

It is described here (for Bge): https://docs.blender.org/manual/en/latest/game_engine/licensing.html


#4

Thanks for clarifying.

Well… when you publish a game in Armory there still lot of Blender things even icons (i’ll check again).
Perhaps this will be valid when Armory will have a way to create a minimal packaging with only packaged assets and Kha/Iron/Haxe/Krom.

It’s better to be aware that your game could be pirated,modified and sold under a new name. So this only applies to Blender and UPBGE , not Armory ?

This means no one have rights to request your source code or game, Armory like Godot seems lot more suitable for any commercial distribution.


#5

There shouldn’t be any traces of Blender as far as I can see when I check, and with a blank template the only icon I can find is the Krom logo - I haven’t checked for C++/Native, but I didn’t find any traces of it in Browser either - Mind you that the actual .blend files aren’t covered by GPL, which is also why the BGE steam games can work around the GPL license. But I think that for a BGE game, while you don’t have to share your .blend levels and assets, you might still have to open source all your python source code that interfaces with the BGE classes - Because of the way that the viral way (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viral_license) the GPL license works.

Armory doesn’t fall under the same shortcomings in terms of that - At least not license wise, your Armory project can be fully closed-sourced if you want to.

Yes, so from a legal standpoint none of your source code will interface with Blender/BGE API’s, so you don’t have to worry about that commercially if you use Armory/Godot and similar.


#6

Why Blender would not make a special license for games using it’s Apis and allow to keep closed games sources code, it would become lot more viable for publishing games ?

Well … thank you again for those clear answers.


#7

I remember I read somewhere that it was because they’d (Blender Foundation) have to acquire the consent of everyone that had contributed to the BGE since it’s inception and BGE goes back maaany years. So that would be hard considering it’s old and ancient, and quite hard to keep track of in terms of who contributed with what - Of course also considering that everyone would have to accept it in the first place.

But it’s good that Armory doesn’t fall under the same limits :slight_smile:


#8

I’ve done a license scan on the entire Armory SDK. I’ve noticed a couple of water/world shaders that are license under a non-commercial Creative Commons license:

Files:
armory/Shaders/water_pass/water_pass.frag.glsl
armory/Shaders/world_pass/world_pass.frag.glsl
License: NoLicenseConcluded
Comment: scanners found: Non-commercial

I’m going to do some digging to check out and make sure there is nothing else to be concerned about for commercial use. I’ve generated and uploaded a license list to GitHub:

I’ll try to stand up the Fossology UI on my server so that the community can view the results soon.

I think this is a very important thing to analyze for Armory. It means a lot that we make sure we don’t have licensing issues for people that want to sell their game. Fossology is amazing for doing this scanning.


#9

Armory is completely safe, it use nothing of Blender.
I don’t know how hard this is to understand, but blender is like a merely a addon, Like when game dev from different game engine use blender to make their models, it is same in case of armory, when blender is being use for model, they are not forced to show their model, and is same with armory too, because the only difference is that you can hit play button from blender. If you care to look and dig in armory SDK, it is shown that all of the code that is use in game is generated by Blender’s python code, Haxe/Kha, and doesn’t has tids bits of blender code AT ALL.

Thats is water shader(as you know), if you don’t enable the it would not come in your game file, either way, if you include it then it will be the only water shader you will have to show. But as side note, it would be good if we use our own shader.


#10

I agree that we should get our own or else a commercially licensed water shader. Also it was the same with the world_pass shader, which is probably used in most Armory games. I will probably create a GitHub issue for that.

Yeah, I understand that. It is not the presence of Blender components in Armory that I am afraid of as much as the presence of GPL licenses buried inside of Kha or Armory’s dependencies. The license scan picked up 83 unique licenses in the Armory SDK codebase including 82 files with a GPL family license ( only one of those is the Armory plugin ). I’m still sorting through to make sure that none of those are going to affect Armory.

I’m going to see if I can get the license browser up on the cloud so that others can view it too, but here is the scan summary. It is kind of shocking how many different licenses are hidden in a project that you might not know about.

Summary

Unique licenses 83 44243 Files
Unique scanner detected licenses 83 2 Unique concluded licenses
Licenses found 11035 240 Licenses concluded
Files with no detected licenses 33186 0 Concluded files with no detected licenses
Scanner Count Concluded License Count License Name
8324 70 MIT
921 0 CC-BY-SA-2.5
423 0 Zlib
302 0 Apache-2.0
215 0 WebM
198 0 BSD-3-Clause
131 0 BSD-2-Clause
90 0 See-URL
51 0 BSD-2-Clause-FreeBSD
45 0 Zlib-possibility
29 0 Dual-license
25 0 GPL-2.0+
24 0 ISC
22 0 LGPL-2.1+
16 0 See-doc.OTHER
15 0 X11
14 0 NCSA
13 0 BSD
13 0 0BSD
12 0 BSL-1.0
10 0 Microsoft-possibility
10 0 MIT-style
10 0 Autoconf-exception
9 0 Public-domain
9 0 GPL
8 0 FSF
7 0 UnclassifiedLicense
5 0 LGPL-2.0+
5 0 GPL-2.0
4 0 GPL-3.0+
4 0 BSD-style
3 0 Unlicense
3 0 Public-domain©
3 0 CC-BY-SA-3.0
3 0 CC-BY-3.0
2 0 See-file
2 0 Perl-possibility
2 0 Non-commercial
2 0 MPL-1.1
2 0 LGPL-3.0+
2 0 LGPL-2.1
2 0 LGPL
2 0 JSON
2 0 Intel
2 0 GPL-3.0
2 0 BSD-possibility
2 0 AGPL-1.0
1 0 info-zip
1 0 curl
1 0 WTFPL
1 0 W3C-possibility
1 0 W3C-IP
1 0 Unicode-TOU
1 0 Sun-BCLA
1 0 See-file.LICENSE
1 0 RSA-Security
1 0 Public-domain-ref
1 0 OpenSSL
1 0 NTP
1 0 Mup
1 0 MS-RL
1 0 MS-EULA
1 0 MPL-2.0-no-copyleft-exception
1 0 MPL-2.0
1 0 MPL
1 0 MIT-CMU-style
1 0 Libtool-exception
1 0 LGPL-2.0
1 0 IPA
1 0 ICU
1 0 GPL-3.0-with-GCC-exception
1 0 GFDL-1.3
1 0 GCC-exception
1 0 Freeware
1 0 Combined_OpenSSL+SSLeay
1 0 CC0-1.0
1 0 CC-BY-4.0
1 0 Artistic-1.0
1 0 Apache-possibility
1 0 Apache
1 0 AGPL-3.0+
1 0 AFL-2.1
0 170 Oculus-SDK-V3

#11

This wasn’t directed at you at all :slight_smile: .
Didn’t know that there that many license hidden in armory, BTW thats good to hear.