Gaijin Entertainment has decided to open-source its Dagor Engine. However, the War Thunder developer seems surprised by reports that the Nau Engine team, financially backed by Russian tech giant VK, plans to use parts of it for its upcoming framework.

Gaijin Entertainment makes its Dagor Engine open source, surprised to see Russian Nau Engine using it

What happened?

In September, Gaijin Entertainment quitely open-sourced parts of Dagor Engine and shared the code on GitHub. However, the move recently gained attention, leading the studio to publish an official statement on its website.

The engine is distributed under the BSD-3 license, with Gaijin saying that it deeply believes in the FOSS (free and open source software) approach and its future central role in game development.

“The decision to make Dagor Engine open source was not merely a standalone act but a piece of a much larger vision, and we’re almost ready to give you the first glimpse on the projects we’ve been working on for quite a while now,” the November 2 post reads.

Currently based in Hungary, Gaijin Entertainment was founded in Russia back in 2002. The studio is best known for flight sim IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey and free-to-play hit War Thunder. It also served as publisher of games like Crossout, Star Conflict, and CRSED: F.O.A.D.

What is Dagor Engine?

  • Gaijin developed the first version of Dagor Engine soon after the company was founded in 2002. A few years later, the studio created a seperate entity, Dagor Technologies, to further develop the engine.
  • All of Gaijin’s main titles, including Birds of Prey, X-Blades, and War Thunder are built with Dagor Engine. In the 2000s, the studio also used it to make games based on Russian films such as Bumer: Sorvannye bashni, Zhmurki, and Wolfhound: Way of the Warrior.
  • Third-party titles made with the engine include SkyFallen’s Death Track: Resurrection and Geleos’ Lada Racing Club. The latter is a controversial racing game in which users drive around Moscow in cars from the Russian brand Lada, known in the local market for being extremely buggy and attracting huge criticism both from the press and players upon its release in 2006.
  • Gaijin continues to develop Dagor Engine to this day: version 6.5 was released in May 2022 and featured various improvements such as dynamic wind and new effects.

Will parts of Dagor Engine be used by Nau Engine devs?

During the recent Nau Engine keynote, head of development Andrey Karsakov said the team decided to “take the rendering core and system-level components from the open source Dagor Engine.” He added that this will allow devs to make products with modern graphics for the vast majority of platforms.

In its post announcing Dagor Engine’s transition to an open source model, Gaijin answered some questions in the FAQ section, including, “Do these plans have anything to do with the recently announced Nau Engine?”

The studio simply said, “No,” adding that reports about the Nau Engine team’s decision to use parts of Dagor “were a surprise for us.”

“Anyway, this is how an open-source approach works: anyone can take the code now to create something new and innovate,” the company said. “We’re glad they chose Dagor, and we hope that others will follow their example.”

What is known about Nau Engine?

Described as a free solution “made for developers and with developers,” Nau Engine was born out of a government initiative to create an engine aimed at the local market. The idea was presented with the support of the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation.

There were also speculations that VK Group (formerly Group), Russian tech giant behind social network VK and other local services like VK Music and game store/platform VK Play, was directly involved in the development of Nau Engine. However, the company later stated that it only invested in the project, but its production is being carried out by an independent team.

Despite possible ties with the government and investment from VK (its CEO Vladimir Kiriyenko is under US and EU sanctions), the Nau Engine team also calls itself independent. The devs say the implementation of the engine will involve at least 100 specialists and industry experts. Its head of development Karsakov is also the dean of the GAMEDEV school at the ITMO University. Alexander Myasishchev, who worked at Nival from March 2012 to October 2022 as project manager and executive director, serves as the project’s CEO.

According to the devs, Nau Engine will support multiple operating systems, including Linux, and modern graphics APIs such as DX12 and Vulkan, as well as technologies like DLSS and ray tracing.

The Nau Engine team launched closed alpha testing on November 1. Version 1.0 is expected to be released at the end of 2025. However, many details about the project, its funding, and features still remain undisclosed at the moment.

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