Silicon Studio ships Xenko 2.0
Silicon Studio has released Xenko 2.0, the new version of its game engine and development environment, adding scene streaming, global illumination with light probes, and support for Visual Studio 2017 and C# 7.0.
The release is the first commercial version of Xenko, which has been available open-source while the software has been in development, but both engine and editor remain free for individuals and small studios.
A ‘VR-ready’ game engine capable of deploying to PC, mobile and Xbox One
In development since 2014, Xenko has the key features you would expect in a modern 3D game engine, including a full asset pipeline, PBR materials, particles, scripting and a prefab system.
The rendering toolset looks strong – perhaps not surprising, given Silicon Studio’s own background in rendering middleware – with support for forward+ rendering, and a range of post effects.
However, there are some notable missing features, like LODs and lightmaps, which you can see on the online roadmap.
Silicon Studio is also pitching the engine as VR-ready: VR projects can be previewed directly in the editor, as in Unity and Unreal Engine, and the firm claims that the engine itself is optimised for VR performance.
At the minute, only Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headsets and controllers are supported natively, but Silicon Studio says that it plans to add support for other devices.
Xenko can currently deploy to Windows and Xbox One, and to iOS, Android and Linux via Xamarin.
New in 2.0: scene streaming, baked global illumination, support for C# 7.0
To that, the 2.0 release adds the option to organise scenes into hierarchies, with the options to load child scenes dynamically for background scene loading.
It also introduces support for baked GI with light probes, and light shafts for directional lights; and makes the graphics compositor, the node-based environment for editing rendering pipelines, a separate asset.
Xenko 2.0 now supports Visual Studio 2017, the latest version of Microsoft’s IDE. The engine is C#-based, and its own script editor also now supports C# 7.0.
Pricing and availability
Xenko 2.0 is available now: the editor is Windows-only. There are a range of pricing options.
The Personal edition is free to individuals or companies earning under $200,000/year. The runtime source code is available for free, and you no longer need to open the code of your game if you modify it.
A Pro subscription has an MSRP of $70/user/month – although they’re free until 31 July 2017 – and provides the option to customise the splash screen of projects created in Xenko, along with premium support.
A Pro Plus subscription costs $150/user/month, and also provides access to the source code of the editor.
For comparison, the price of the closest equivalent Unity subscription packages is slightly lower; although with Unity, the earnings threshold for the free edition is set at $100,000/year.