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Epic Releases Free Version of Unreal Engine 217

anomnomnomymous writes "Just a week after Unity announced its engine is now available for free to indie users, Epic Games has revealed a free version of its popular Unreal Engine technology. Called the Unreal Development Kit (UDK), it is a free edition of UE3 that allows community, modder and indie users more access to the engine's features and is available for all. Epic said game developers, students, hobbyists, researchers, creators of 3D visualizations and simulations plus digital filmmakers can all take advantage of the UDK for non-commercial use. The UDK site also offers detailed product features, technical documentation, commercial licensing terms and support resources."
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Epic Releases Free Version of Unreal Engine

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  • by Yvan256 ( 722131 ) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @12:00PM (#29995586) Homepage Journal

    A multi-platform client that allows you to load Google Sketchup files. It would be nice to walk around the models, buildings, etc.

    After that, make that multi-platform client compatible with Google Earth. Yes a lot of stuff is still flat but at least they do have terrain data so it would still be nice.

    And last, just for kicks, add an option for playing in that map MMOFPS style!

    • They gave you the code. Get crackin'!
    • You may be interested in this- []
      It's for unity, the other engine recently made free.
      The bummer is that it's kind of a PITA for a large area, but it's still doable.

    • by chrish ( 4714 )

      Unity ( can import a bunch of the formats that Sketchup Pro can export... native support would be easier, of course.

      Out of the box development on Mac or Windows, and deployment to Mac or Windows, as well as on the web.

      Still working through the massive (120 pages!) platformer tutorial and piles o' docs.

  • by rliden ( 1473185 ) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @12:18PM (#29995820)
    Here is a link to the official press release from the Epic site: Epic Games Announces the Unreal Development Kit, Powered by Unreal Engine 3 [].
  • Of course, it couldn't be'd have to be homebrew. ;)
    • Only if you think a cinder-block sculpture in the shape of a humanoid is hot. No amount of subd is going to smooth a chunky UT-sized player mesh by that much...

  • by Shaterri ( 253660 ) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @12:38PM (#29996076)

    While it's unsurprising given that the current Unreal Engine is still in active development and a ton of commercial games are still being developed and shipped using it, it's worth pointing out that this isn't a source code release; instead, it's something much closer to an elaborate mod engine, with generous swaths of behavioral scripting but no real ability to get 'under the hood' as it were. Still, kudos to Epic for this; it'll be interesting to see who picks up the ball and runs with this.

    • Hmmm, I wasn't aware of that, I haven't had much time to read into this (at work and all). I was actually pretty excited, I like the Unreal Engine for its shaders more than anything else. I like to get my hands on the real gooey stuff, to take what bits and pieces I like and leave the rest. I'd rather develop my own game with my own patchwork engine rather then make an Epic Mod for Unreal (Pun fully intended).

  • Why I like Unreal (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hythlodaeus ( 411441 ) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @12:49PM (#29996226)

    Having modded for a few different games, I really appreciate the Unreal engine for one specific reason: it assumes that all the space you haven't touched is filled rather than empty. That way, creating the basic flow of a level is just a matter of drawing out a cuboid per room and subtracting it from the filled space. By contrast, the id style starting with empty space requires you to create a cuboid for each wall, ceiling, and floor. There's a three page tutorial on how to make all the seams line up properly - and heaven help you if your room isn't a simple rectangle.

    • I haven't done any modding or level creation recently, but wasn't Quake 1 subtractive as well? I remember building levels using subtraction a lot and I loved the method.

      • Anon is right, it's called CSG substract. And also, it is evil. I don't remember the exact reason why it was evil (I haven't done any mapping for quite a while and I forgot a lot of the theory), but generally on every mapping/modding forum everyone would tell you not to use it.

        Drawing floors, walls, and ceilings by hand, no matter how painful may it seem compared to drawing just the inside and hitting the magic button, is the way to go. If you'd be modelling a wall that is visible from both sides (for examp

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          CSG subtract is only evil if used irresponsibly or by the inexperienced. I use it all of the time to cut out odd shapes, then go in with manual clipper and CSG merge to minimise or just reorganise brush fragments. Z-fighting with caulk surfaces isn't a problem in game since caulk is invisible. It is also sometimes the best way to build certain areas, for example, a room with walls that are entirely made up of patch meshes or an area with walls that are made of multiple brushes.
    • The problem usually solved in other engines by putting a couple 0-depth 1 sided inverted boxes (There's totally a name for it other than "Shell" but I can't remember it) outside the realm of play and using that to cut off rendering, like a hullbox or whatever, then using one giant Brush inside of that and carving your map out of that. But it is annoying to make sure your brushes are snapping together properly and you can get some ugly leaks if you're not careful. For MOST people's map design, or essentially

    • Seconded. I don't know how it's in the most recent engines. But Doom 3's level editor was a real piece of shit.

      While i really liked the Unreal ones.

  • by Monkeedude1212 ( 1560403 ) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @12:59PM (#29996348) Journal

    But each release of the Unreal Engine actually changes the Game development scene for alot of game development, not just modding community pertaining to Unreal games. Given Unreal 3 is staarrting to get old, this is probably too late to boost the game back into the light of gamers but Unreal has always had this precedence in the scene of developing.

    For example, I myself usually develop with the source Engine. I find it easy to use, and probably more importantly, I find Hammer easier to create maps with instead of the Unreal Editor. In one particular scenario I wanted to have a marsh with really cool fog and properly dripping water and fireflies and all this jazz. Now Source while a great PHYSICS engine isn't as fine tuned towards the details as other engines tend to be. I've found that Valve will only update the Shaders to really meet their own needs, and other little things like that - but I mean you can't complain when they are giving it out for free, right? Anyways, Unreal has been pretty good with those kinds of effects - just look at ANY screenshot of their maps, or any video of the gameplay. I was able to look into Unreal and use their structure as a basis for my own particle effects, after all, I don't want it to look EXACTLY like an UT2K3 Map. Worked like a charm. Now, before you jut in, yes, I know Steam has their own FX for this kind of stuff. But its actually pretty taxing on the system, they still haven't quite seemed to nail fog down as it lags quite a bit (See CS:S When multiple smoke nades go off)

    So, the next time you think "Unreal, who cares?" - remember that while they seem to be declining a bit in their sales of games, their rendering technology is still amongst the best free stuff out there. And every bit they give to their community is another bit to every community.

    • Have you looked into what they planned for the Unreal 4 engine? It looks really great. Unreal 3 is now nearing its EOL anyway.

  • Nice one editors. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by anomnomnomymous ( 1321267 ) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @01:09PM (#29996466)
    Wow, I got to say I'm impressed with the /. editors. After hastily submitting this story at work, I only had links to the Unity3D- and UDK- sites in there. Whereas the text is still the same as I submitted it, the editors done a great job in actually providing some extra informative links in there.
    Well done!

    On topic: I think this is a very smart move by Epic. It's great to be able to tinker with a top quality engine without having to buy any of their games first. This can definitely come in use for the scientific community, where you would like other people to download your, for example, simulations, and not be constrained by them having to own a game on which it runs.
    Also, as some people above mentioned, this is great for some indie developers, who can now build a complete game, see if it's feasible, and if the end-product is to their liking, they can decide to license the engine and sell it.

    Of course I'd prefer them to release the whole source, but that can't really be expected of an engine that is still commercially available.

    Overall, great move Epic!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dkleinsc ( 563838 )

      Wow, I got to say I'm impressed with the /. editors. After hastily submitting this story at work, I only had links to the Unity3D- and UDK- sites in there. Whereas the text is still the same as I submitted it, the editors done a great job in actually providing some extra informative links in there.
      Well done!

      After that statement, I had to check my URLs and DNS cache to make sure I wasn't on some Bizarro Slashdot.

      Just kidding, editors. I actually appreciate what you guys do for us here.

    • Ditto. I actually really like their business model. It encourages community development alot, which means when I pay 60 bucks for a game, I get more than whats just in the case. And even better, if you've EVER been interested in starting your own game, Unreal is a good place to start (Though probably the first Unreal Engine if you have little to no experience). You can go down to your local bookstore (Chapters or Indigo) and grab a book on game development and They usually bundle a CD with either the Doom o

    • ``Of course I'd prefer them to release the whole source, but that can't really be expected of an engine that is still commercially available.''

      Sometimes, I wonder why companies don't just license the engine as open source and sell the actual game. Let someone else do maintenance and porting on the engine while you focus on the artwork and the story line.

  • by bl8n8r ( 649187 )

    "Anyone can try out the Unreal Development Kit powered by Unreal Engine 3" long as your on windows

    • You not using the company name in describing their action = Epic Fail.
    • I'm so disappointed to hear that my dream of a UE powered Tux Racer is no longer a possibility. Whatever.

    • by brkello ( 642429 )
      And this is a problem why? Not everything has to be ported to Linux to be worthwhile. Them releasing it is a good thing. When something is only released on Linux, is that a fail too? The OS bias on this site is pathetic sometimes.
    • by petrus4 ( 213815 )

      "Anyone can try out the Unreal Development Kit powered by Unreal Engine 3" long as your on windows

      Very few people are going to seriously try and do 2D texturing on any other platform anyway, although I know 3D work is possible on FOSS, via Blender.

      Nobody who is Linux-only, is that way because of Windows' expense. Pirated Windows is available pretty much anywhere, and for all Microsoft's noise to the contrary, that is exactly how they like it.

      Nobody who uses FreeBSD is FreeBSD-only, either. It is pure FSF cultism that causes Linux users to want to be single platform.

      Refraining from dual booting because

  • No thanks, we've already got 3 Quake engines and a bunch of quality open-source developed ones. But we greatly appreciate the gesture!

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.