Agog Labs joins Epic Games; RIP Sk


#1

While active development of SkookumScript has ceased, it remains available as a community-supported plugin for Unreal Engine 4.

Well then… sigh.

Edit: I’m actually quite excited about it, looking forward to the perspective they’ll be bringing to the engine. But it will be sad if it means the death of Sk.


#2

It really is something to be excited about! See our fuller responses here:


#3

But… That at least means you’re working on a gameplay scripting language, implementation for Epic?

Congrats for you, guys. Hope some ideas from your awesome architecture get used.


#4

Seriously…???
Please please tell me this is some kind of Freaking Joke.
I just spend 1/4 year salary on programming for SK.
How the HELL am i supposed to recoup that if dev on SK stops?
All those fixes we were waiting on… omg this is a freaking disaster.
What good is the public code when we would need the full source to maintain it?


#5

It sucks really, i didn’t spend much money on it but i understand your position.

However i would wait till the GDC, if epic doesn’t announce anything then we can all riot. :smile:

BTW i don’t think there will be UE4 version updates until after the GDC. I would stop using :sk: in the meantime tho.


#6

It will be better if a skookumish language is integrated into Unreal, however, you should have been expecting this.


#7

@JacobGood1 apologies but I will have to quote you here:

Honestly ? One month ago I started having my doubts. But at this point I just had to stay positive. As are well aware this is a tough industry and you can’t afford to bail out as soon as you have some doubts. Some of us invested more some less.

Not so long ago SK announced the bright future and all the big goodies that were coming soon, as part of their involvement in python plugin.

It seems that just before today’s announcement you were also betting on SK.

As you can see @Mack is quite upset and I think it’s quite unfair to imply it’s his fault.
Again if he would start using SK a month ago or before XMAS that might have been a risky bet. The least we can do is to support fellow devs in this tragedy, gamedev is hard enough already.

As a programmer I’m a huge fan of Agog Labs and I really appreciate the intellectual work they accomplished. However let’s not act as fanboys.

We can love Agog team but not all their decisions or execution.


#8

Good things will eventually come of this.

We spent years on SkookumScript - I started working on it in 2004. I also invested another good decade working on it with very low salary (going hugely into debt). There were some awesome projects paying license fees and though several AAA studios were getting very interested their biggest concern was our backing. We had 4 people working full-time and 3 part-time and these were veteran game engineers who were giving up huge industry salaries. Often the salaries were just written up as IOUs to be paid out in some hopeful future or we worked for free (sometimes for years on savings). We are all big believers in SkookumScript though we still had families to feed.

If things were to continue on the same course there was a good chance that we would have to stop work on SkookumScript, disband and turn out the lights or morph into something completely different - probably work for hire with little or no time on SkookumScript.

Epic realized the value that we had and provided a way forward with the ideas that we evolved with better backing and an awesome brand.

We could not relay any of our discussions with Epic to the SkookumScript users until a public announcement was made yesterday - 2019-01-23. Until then we had to operate as if nothing were happening.

So I understand your pain.

The SkookumScript team invested several accumulated decades and now we’ll be spending more along with the backing of Epic to make game development even more amazing.

It will eventually become clear what we are doing with Epic and you can judge our decisions. :madsci:


#9

Thank you for sharing this I was hoping for a post like this.
Firstly as you may have noticed I totally understand your decision and am very happy for you and possible for my future self as UE user.
As a indie developer, living in constant fear of failure I understand the position you were in and how amazing opportunity and accomplishment this is.
However we are not purely rational creatures and as you might imagine there is or will be more or less of frustration. We are not judging, it’s just not what we hoped for or made bets on.


#10

I don’t blame anyone being frustrated - my background is cognitive science (and AI). I’m actually pretty shocked how well the SkookumScript community and UE4 users at large have received the news so far.

We’re working harder than ever and as the idiom goes: the proof will be in the pudding. :madsci:


#11

BTW - Epic likes to announce things that are done rather than future things so I doubt anything substantial can be whipped up in two months. So no promises… :sweat_smile:


#12

Let me preface my post by saying that I have most likely invested more into Skookum than most of the people that have grazed these forums. I have taught the language at school for over a year, created online curriculum with hours of lecture, and I have made multiple games with it. I even attempted a Kickstarter to try to promote it and make some money while doing so…

I am still excited about Skookum, this language, through the blood, sweat, and tears of the Agog team, has somehow convinced Epic of the merits of better abstractions. Agog accomplished this without mathematical formalism, without a clear way to present objectively superior techniques, but through the language they envisioned. This is no small feat, it is extremely difficult to get programmers to adopt better languages, much more so large corporations.

My quote was not invalidated by what I said, the fact is, now, you will not have to worry about marketplace releases because whatever IL is being cooked up, it will be integrated directly into Unreal releases.

My team sat down together, we assessed the risks of getting involved in Skookum and decided that the pros outweighed the cons. One of our topics was the fact that Skookum could be acquired by Epic, which would most likely lead to the dissolving of Skookum. We had this discussion far before (2 + years ago) there were any announcements of Agog’s involvement with Epic. So, we were able to predict this potentiality, I do not understand why others were incapable of doing so.

Let me ask you, have you tried to monetize the development of a programming language? Have you even attempted to create one on your own? Why do you think the Skookum team calls themselves “mad scientists”? I assume they call themselves that because they were called crazy so many times for doing what they do that they decided to just accept that title. For some reason, language development in the IT industry is frowned upon. If one decides to embark upon such a journey, they will face endless ridicule, they will be questioned every where they go, and they will be asked, in a rhetorical way, why they are attempting to make “yet another language”. I know what it is like to be making something that, seemingly, no one seems to understand, but everyone denigrates you for doing so, even your own family. Keeping ones morale high under these pressures is no easy task, one would have to be “mad” to do so. These guys have introduced abstractions to the game industry, on a language level, and the game industry is actually responding! Congratulations Agog!

I do not have to be a fan boy to show compassion, to understand the difficulties involved in language development, to defend Agog when someone starts screaming at them for something they spent years on, that they shared for free.

I understand that he is upset because he thinks his investment is lost. However, making another prediction here, he will have an advantage when the new IL is released. He has already learned how to work in the “time splice” mode, which, I am assuming, will be a part of the new IL. I highly doubt that Epic hired the Skookum team so that they will make a bastardized abomination of c and python whereby they abandon all of the ideas that they have introduced through Skookum. I doubt that the Agog team would toss aside their ideas to join Epic, cleaving away their core beliefs. Let me be frank, their ideas matter a lot more than Skookum does, which was the vehicle for those ideas. If the Agog team can manifest their ideas in the new IL then we have all won. I am betting, that is exactly what will happen, if not, I have no problem apologizing for making these assumptions.

Alright, book concluded.


#13

I wrote this post (the one above this one) before reading any of Conan’s responses, looks like some of my assumptions were true. Bottom line is, language dev is one of the hardest things to do in the software industry, often times, with very little reward for doing so.


#14

I think more in these lines. I didn’t loose investment in Skookum (and I actually was suspecting this was going to happen, because lately they were taking too much time to release the updated plugin, which was uncommon for them). I lost a good amount of investment (big at least for my lonely developer + freelancer pockets) in plugins and softwares that were discontinued. Granite indie, for instance. As a CG generalist, different than other guys like me, TDs etc, I always preferred to take the risk of using a plugin (and in tv ads this is very risky indeed, because the deadlines are really short) and is very frustrating, takes some time to accept the lost investment. It’s hard.
But as JacobGood1 said in the quote above, the most important is their ideas and vision of how gameplay scripting languages should be done, should work, should be structured. And I guess Epic hired them actually because of that. Probably heard them making the apology of their language, showing examples live and thought it was worth it.
There’s a possible benefit in them re-creating it kind of from the ground that is: newer software most of the times seem to be more rounded, more efficient, streamlined, than older ones. So maybe if they have been maturing new ideas for the language as good as the existing ones, the users will benefit. I’m not trying to underestimate no one’s loss here. Just trying to show that may be more profitable to accept the fact and adapt to use the advantage of already been using it, know how to do things using it etc.


#15

Ah, and I think I will say the obvious but: now that you are so integrated into UE4, don’t forget to make USkript (Uscript? U?) have access to the AI part of Unreal, try those Utility AI things etc. :slight_smile:


#16

For anyone that missed it: