Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 3 (UE3) turned 10 years old this month, so we took a look back at some of the best games using the engine. Available for licensees since March 2004, UE3 represented a huge leap for the Unreal Engine. It boasts support for pretty much every platform—mobile, Windows, OS X, and all of the consoles. It's so popular with developers that even the FBI decided to license the engine for a training simulator.
Epic games is known these days for Xbox titles such as Gears of War, however it’s sometimes easy to forget they were also one of the all-time greats in the PC arena. The Unreal series pushed the boundaries of competitive multiplayer, and even PC hardware well ahead of anything else of its day. A few select titles such as the original Gears of War and Bulletstorm made their way to the PC, however the controls just didn’t transfer well to the mouse and keyboard. Those longing for the good ole days of Epic PC exclusives finally have something to look forward to, with Design Director Cliff Bleszinski confirming the existence of a PC only title to panel attendees at PAX East.
If this year's crop of rocky video game launches has taught us anything, it's that coding video games is hard. Sit through the 30 minute scroll that passes itself off as a credits screen these days and you'll see just how many moving parts go into making today's games. With gigabytes of art assets to create, pages of story to write, hours of dialogue and sound to record, a tangled web of complex behaviors to script, and, oh yeah, actual levels and gameplay to design, one thing is clear: making games isn't all fun and games.
Yet despite the ever-increasing complexity, the creation process is more streamlined than ever. Why? Licensable game engines, tools, and middleware. From specular maps to dynamic shadows, high dynamic range rendering to cloth simulation, from pathfinding to AI reaction behavior, game engines take care of all the nitty-gritty graphical and scripting groundwork and provide a solid (hopefully) codebase for our beloved games. And just like you wouldn't throw a HEMI into a Smart Car, or a power-saving hybrid into a monster truck, knowing which engines excel at which tasks is crucial. So here's a quick look at a cool dozen—a V12, if you will—of the biggest engines and middleware tools in use today.
Remember that mind-blowing next-gen tech demo Epic debuted at GDC? You know, the one that was basically Deus Ex, but so gorgeous that your next PC is going to run on a drool-powered cooling system? Well, Epic's released an official video detailing all the tech that's doing the heavy lifting, and, well, we want it in our lives right this very moment. But alas, Epic's only using it to test the waters right now. Check it out after the break (courtesy of Kotaku), and then help us figure out time trave-- oops, nevermind.
Last week, GDC erupted all over the gaming world, raining molten news bits down on an unsuspecting populace. Tragically, despite a very high casualty count, most of Xbox Live managed to survive. The bottom line? A whole lot of stuff happened, and odds are, some of it managed to fly under your radar. Well, no more. Here's everything you need to know.
Engadget reports that Android will soon see its first Unreal 3 engine based game this month in the form of Dungeon Defenders: First Wave. The Unreal 3 engine powers such iOS games as Infinity Blade. Dungeon Defenders just dropped on iOS recently, and should be on Android (2.1 and higher) on December 23rd.
Dungeon Defenders is an online multiplayer tower defense game with some excellent graphics. But it's those graphics that will be keeping a lot of Android users from joining the party. Developer Trendy Entertainment has included a list of minimum specs that phones will need to have to run the game. We're looking at 512MB of RAM, an 800MHz processing core, a GPU capable of OpenGL ES 2.0, and 400MB of free storage space on the SD card.
Most high-end phones released in the last year should be able to meet the minimum specs. Even the quickly fading Nexus One is listed as fully compatible. Trendy did, however, point out that the game will run best on a Tegra 2 handset. Only one of those has been announced, and it's not slated for sale in the US yet.
This means that developers will be able to leverage Epic's popular game engine in combination with Palm's new Plug-in Development Kit (PDK) to develop more powerful games for webOS phones. Unlike on the iPhone, games running on a webOS phone can be pushed to the background as the user engages with other apps.
Apple iPod touch users craving a bit of higher end gaming have a lot to be excited over. How could they not, after seeing the same Unreal Engine 3 that powers Gears of War 2 running on a third generation iPod touch?
According to an Anandtech write-up, the Unreal Engine 3 tech demo was both playable and had a fly-through. It consisted of a modified Unreal Tournament level and included a virtual thumbstick on the left side of the screen for controlling movement, while tracking your thumb in the lower right corner of the screen manipulated the camera angle.
Anandtech noted that the frame rate was smooth and "the demo looked very good for an iPhone game." Speaking of which, Mark Rein, vice president of Epic Games, says the engine also works on the iPhone 3GS, and that you can expect to see it on another mobile platform at CES. How deliciously vague.
The Unreal Engine 3 has been at the heart of several of the biggest games of the last few years. Titles include Gears of War, Bioshock, and Borderlands. Now Epic Games is announcing the release of a free non-commercial version of the Unreal Development Kit, powered by Unreal 3.
The dev kit is available for download right this very minute at the official site. This isn’t some stripped down version of the engine either. According to Epic, “UDK contains all the most recently added features and technological enhancements, including many that have yet to be seen in an Unreal Engine game. Furthermore, Epic Games will release ongoing, upgraded builds of UDK for free.”
The UDK can be used to create mods for existing games, as well as standalone products. San Diego based Psyonix Studios used the UDK to create a proof of concept game in two months with only two individuals. The game is called Whizzle, and it’s actually pretty neat for what is essentially a tech demo. It’s always nice to see companies giving something away for free.