PushButton Engine Open Beta Launched

Two days before Game Developers Conference we opened the PushButton Engine site in Beta form to the general public. The PushButton Engine is a Flash game engine released under the extremely liberal MIT Open Source license. If you are interested in Open Source Flash game development, you should check it out!

PushButton Engine Logo

PushButton Engine Logo

Nine years ago when we released the Torque Game Engine for $100 at GarageGames (for those who don’t know, two of the founders of PushButton Labs, Jeff Tunnell (me) and Rick Overman, were half of the founders of GG) everybody wondered how we could make a company charging so little for our products. To be honest, we thought we would make up the difference by selling games, and even though that did eventually work out, it took a long time, and in the meantime we made a meager living selling TGE one at a time for $100. However, any way you look at it, GarageGames worked out very well, and, like I always say, if you catch fish in a hole, go back to that hole next time you go fishing. So, here we are making another engine, but this time we are giving it away for free!

A fair question that anybody should ask is how our company will survive giving away our efforts for free. I think that is going to be the main question nearly all online products and companies are going to have to answer over time. Our answer is that we are going to give away the game engine foundation for free, then sell premium components, starter kits, and content. In addition, we are opening up our e-commerce and store to anybody that wants to sell technology to our community. You can think of it as an “app store” for game technology.

We did a mini version of this model at GarageGames, but it was a closed system where we were open to submissions or we recruited certain developers to make technology that GG would sell in its developer store. Many developers made nice side income or even enough to make a living selling Torque add ons and tools. Like I always say, don’t quit your day job, and having a nice income stream from selling some technology can really help offset your game development efforts.

Flash has huge momentum and we think there is a great opening to supply Flash developers with even easier and more modular methods of making their games. We envision thousands of free and premium components, starter kits, and content packs all rated, ranked, and easily distributed through our store bringing in great money for the developers creating them.

When we launch our component store (hopefully next week), we will be giving a lot more info, but for now the enticing bits are that our entire infrastructure is built upon Amazon’s amazing EC2 and S3 cloud computing services, and we are using Amazon’s ex-commerce service for the payment system, which allows us to essentially allow micro-payments.

The first premium component created by PushButton Labs will be a real time networking component that is based upon the ideas behind the great open sourced OpenTNL, Torque Networking Library, we released from GarageGames six years ago. PB Networking should be the best real time networking the Flash game world has seen with bit packing, ghosting, and the ability to use Java, C++, or Flash based back end servers. Our test results show it performing better than anything we have seen in the Flash space (but, it is a big space, and we could have missed something). PBN will be released under an Indie and Commercial license that is compatible with the MIT license of the base engine. We have not yet decided on a price, but it will be low as we want to make sure this technology is very accessible.

If you decide to try out the PushButton Engine, please remember it is still in Beta. We have a long way to go to make everything more noobie friendly, and of course, the docs still have a long way to go. Even though we didn’t really try to make a big splash at GDC, we graciously got picked up for an article by Wagner James Au from the GigaOM technology blog, which resulted in coverage by the New Work Times and many other blogs. I hope all those visitors stick with us while we get the training wheels bolted on :)

-Jeff Tunnell, Game Maker
Make It Big In Games
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  • aschearer

    Hey, it's exciting to hear you finally published your library! Also, good choice on the license — and very interesting to hear you're going to work with an open source business model. Out of curiosity do you plan to accept community contributions? If so is the code hosted anywhere? What's the procedure for accepting changes? etc etc If you haven't found a home for it yet I would suggest hosting it over at the fabulous GitHub — free for open source projects. Looking forward to learning more!

    • http://www.makeitbigingames.com Jeff Tunnell

      We are going to accept contributions. The code is currently hosted on Google Code. Ben will have to write more about how we are accepting changes, etc.

      • http://coderhump.com Ben Garney

        We're using Google Code – check out pushbuttonengine.googlecode.com.

        For changes, we hope that most changes will fall into the form of components that get uploaded to the store. :)

        But for core changes, yes, absolutely contributions are welcome. If you spot something that needs to be changed, post on our forums (http://pushbuttonengine.com/forum/) and we'll figure out the best way to review & get it into the codebase.

  • http://www.thestillofthenightcausesastorminthemind.com Jeremy Alessi

    Hey congratulations on this! The component shop seems like it'll really help developers generate some turn around cash while they polish up their games.

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  • miwi

    You know, talk about timing. After a long hiatus, I'm back to being interested in gamedev, and I'm learning AS3/flex to make flash games. An AS3 engine coming out right now from the guys behing Torque is just GREAT news!

  • http://www.microdotproductions.com culwelljase

    I'm glad to finally get my hands on the Push Button Engine. I think its going to be a great tool to create some really exciting, and fun flash games. Especially with TNL networking. I mean, seriously, that is just kick ass!

    I have toyed around with PBE for a little while and can definitely see the great potential for this engine. I'm hoping to create some really killer flash games for the arcade that I just launched on my website. The free flash games floating around are great, but a lot of them seem to lack that touch that makes you want to come back and beat someone's highscore. Not to mention the lack of multiplayer support.

    With PBE, flash development will be streamlined, and the games will benefit greatly from this. Anyone who is even remotely interested in PBE needs to check it out. Seriously.

    • http://coderhump.com Ben Garney

      Well, it's PushButton networking, not Torque networking. :) There are similarities but by no means are they the same!

      I'm excited to hear you like it, you should get on the forums and post your experiences with it so we can make it even better! :)

  • imre

    Hm, now this is really interesting. I took a look at your engine overview doc, and…
    On one hand, this component-based architecture seems to be exactly what I had in mind when started to build my open-source C++ game engine — the main difference being that you've actually done it, while I merely started (well, the curses of having a full-time job).
    On the other hand, let me be honest with you guys. A few years ago I evaluated Torque, and I missed _exactly_ this kind of software design from it. I don't know how it is today, but at that time Torque was a horrible, monolithic mass of intertwined code, and a total pain in the ass to replace any parts of it (like integrating 3rd party physics middleware instead of the built-in stuff or whatever). A direct opposite of what you advertise here.
    It's a bit strange now to see this from the same people.
    Anyway, I'll check this out for sure (and will congratulate you once I see it's all true :) ).

    • http://coderhump.com Ben Garney

      I hope it delivers… Let us know what you think! (The forums http://www.pushbuttonengine.com/forum are best, since Jeff's blog isn't tech oriented.)

      • kitesurf

        Hey Ben, thanks for the link to forum, I am very much impressed!

  • Forrest

    Hey Guys-
    I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask, but you seem like reasonable humans so here goes. I'm gearing up to develop a downloadable Hidden Object casual game. I know Flash/AS3 well, but have been looking into Torque/Playground/etc. because it seems most of the popular Hidden Object games are done in C++. Other than the gfx accelerated particles systems that are always in these games, I can't seem to figure out why successful Hidden object game couldn't be done in Flash. Do you have any thoughts? Do the big portals not accept Flash developed downloadable games?

    Thanks so much-

  • alok

    Flash game world has seen with bit packing, ghosting, and the ability to use Java, C++, or Flash based back end servers. Our test results show it performing better than anything we have seen in the Flash space (but, it is a big space, and we could have missed something). PBN will be released under an Indie and Commercial license that is compatible with the MIT license of the base engine. We have not yet decided on a price

  • 123aquatropicalfish123
  • MC

    its new york times not new work times