The middleware that underpins the striking visual art in Rayman Origins will soon be free for all developers, a leading studio boss has said.
Rayman creator Michel Ancel said the UbiArt Framework would eventually be an open-source solution.
“UbiArt has been built to be shared,” Ancel told Develop.
“It won’t be like other games technologies, which are often just locked away,” he said, adding that the highly factionalised games industry is being held back by its lack of collaboration.
“If the guys who invented the paintbrush only kept it for themselves then fine art [would be in a sorry state], it would be ephemeral. So yes, I want [UbiArt] to be open source, I want it to go out and be shared and evolved.”
“If you look at the best artists at Disney for example, they create incredible books and artwork and share their processes – it’s interesting because those same people are happy to look at how other artists are developing their style. That whole medium has evolved on the basis of sharing ideas. But in games we lock it all in a black box and keep it to ourselves,” he says.
“A lot of independent developers fail or struggle because of that trend. We need to be more open. I don’t believe that keeping the technology to yourself is interesting. I want someone to look at our game and be inspired to use the tools to be artistic themselves. It is more interesting to have a community and share our content.”
The finer details of UbiArt’s full licensing terms – if indeed there will be such a policy – has yet to be finalised. Ancel told Develop that the Ubisoft executive team would determine this policy, but assured that his belief is that the tech will be free to use.
AbiArt is a development tool that places emphasis on an artist’s own work. Paintings, sculptures and sketches can be scanned and incorporated into UbiArt and displayed in-game.
Ubisoft is waiting on the gold copy of Rayman Origins as proof-of-concept.
“Making Rayman here I have two goals,” Ancel said.
“Firstly, to prove that this engine can be done, and that it is creative. And secondly, to make an actual game with it and prove it works.”
Rayman Origins is due Christmas this year.