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Unreal Engine 4 Launching With Full Source Code 149

jones_supa writes "Today Epic launched Unreal Engine 4 for game developers. Supported platforms are Windows, OS X, iOS and Android, with desktop Linux coming later. The monetization scheme is unique: anyone can get access to literally everything for a $19/month fee. Epic wants to build a business model that succeeds when UE4 developers succeed. Therefore, part of the deal is that anyone can ship a commercial product with UE4 by paying 5% of their gross revenue resulting from sales to users. This gets them the Unreal Editor in ready-to-run form, and the engine's complete C++ source code hosted on GitHub for collaborative development."
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Unreal Engine 4 Launching With Full Source Code

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  • by glasshole ( 3569269 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @03:35PM (#46526817)
    and even medium sized devs who couldn't shill out for the giant license fees before.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @03:44PM (#46526909)

      UDK used to be free to play with. It's exciting until you realize there's a subscription attached and if you build a game with it 5% of the gross. That doesn't sound like much but when you stack it on top of the ~30% gross from your preferred sales channel, plus the fees from whatever other middleware you might want (Scaleform, FMOD, Bink, and Havok come to mind) and then add taxes, you're struggling to break even.

      • by alen ( 225700 )

        or do what they did in the 90's, code your own engine for every game you make
        or pay the thousands of $$$ upfront to Unity for their engine

        this is where you have to make a good game and not just a copy of the latest IAP crap in the app store or some FPS. unlike 20 years ago people are willing to license you lots of software for no upfront fee and all you have to do is make an awesome game.

        they are taking most of the financial risk of losing lots of money you may have invested in your project and you're still

        • by Adriax ( 746043 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @04:13PM (#46527243)

          $1500 gets you the pro version, or $75 a month. That's not thousands.
          Android and iOS are another chunk of cash each but are not required unless you're targeting those pro features.

          Of course you can use and release free if you don't need the pro features...

          And what financial risk are they taking? If I make a game and it flops badly with no sales they are still ahead by my monthly subscription.

          • by alen ( 225700 )

            $1500 per user
            10 guys is $15000
            then more money for the other software

            you can always start up a company with a few hundreds thousand $$$ of your own money and have it fail and lose it all. Epic is giving you software to make a professional product with very little upfront cost

            • by Adriax ( 746043 )

              $15000 would get you a 28 person team license with unity pro.
              It would also get you an infinite person team license with unity standard and $15000 in change.
              Both save you the 5% royalty.

              And you have yet to explain what financial risk epic games is bearing for you when you use the unreal engine.

              Why are you so intent on making it look like unity is a horribly overpriced alternative?
              I'm going to assume you're just an angry fanboy, because a paid shill would have better grammar.

              • You can't develop a commercial game with Unity Standard though. Even if you're a single developer, the watermarking is a but of a put off. Sure you could develop for years and then just license to purchase, but that isn't likely a 28 person teams biggest concern.
                • A watermark? I haven't built anything with unity but all I can find is as long as you make less than $100k/year you can build and release with free with just a required splash screen.

                  And even if unity suddenly does become an overpriced piece of junk, there's other game engines including a good number of GPL and MIT licensed free ones.
                  For the hypothetical 10 man team looking to break into the market with no money to spare for a big license, there are alternatives. And if they refuse to do without the extra p

                  • And if you made your game with a GPL licensed engine you would have to release your game for free. Sure, you could charge for it, but any jerk with an internet connection could upload it to the 2nd hit on Google and because of the GPL license you used you would have no legal grounds to sue them, or even issue a takedown request. As for the Unreal engine, it offers far more than "pretty rendering". What would you suggest a team use, Irricht, Ogre? I guess you expect a couple programmers to write their own t
                • by Guru80 ( 1579277 )
                  There is no Watermarking in Unity. There are commercial games developed in standard Unity just not high quality games for the most part but there are some of those as well, there are plenty of high quality Unity Pro version of games. Aside from lack of real time shadows and the like the only mark is the powered by Unity splash screen during initial loading of the game that is only up a couple seconds.
          • That is per-person involved in development. A 1-2 person team, sure, no big deal. A 300 man AAA, no thank you.

            • by Adriax ( 746043 )

              I really doubt a AAA with a 300 person team is going to purchase a game engine for a multi-million budget AAA title by going to a publicly accessible web store and queuing up 1 pro license + 299 team addon licenses and plunk down a credit card for that $151,000 bill.
              Just guessing here, but the same sales team that processes their console licenses will probably give that AAA different licensing prices and terms for a huge order like that.

      • NO one is forcing you to go through channels that cost 30%
      • What I find interesting is that the slashdot sqwark of outrage over unreal charging 5% seems to ignore that the 'sales channel' of Apple, Google or Valve's stores is more like 30%, yet no-one seems to care that 5% for writing a good-quality isn't such a bad deal.

        If you want to complain about costs - take umbrage with the sales channels that happily cream a fucking third of your revenue away for doing little more than hosting a download site.

    • by brit74 ( 831798 )
      Unreal has had some good licensing terms for years. Three years ago, I their offer was 25% of sales and your first $50,000 of income is free (i.e. you owed nothing to Epic if your game grossed less than $50,000).
    • Uhm.. yes it's great until you realize it's $19 or 19 euro per developer per month.. UDK is still supported, but won't get any real new options..
      • If you can not afford to pay $19 per month for a piece of software, I really don't want to know what you consider to pay your developers per hour.

  • by Voyager529 ( 1363959 ) <voyager529 AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @03:41PM (#46526871)

    If Epic demonstrated the capabilities of this engine by also having a first-party game released along with it. They could make it a multiplayer first person shooter, which I know is a well-trodden field, but I really think Epic could do it - especially one that includes LAN play, which seems to be poorly represented in games these days. And then, they could bundle a few of the tools with the game so that some gamers could make their own content for it, and do something really earth-shattering - user-generated DLC, FOR FREE!

    If only I could think of a name for this game....

    • by Chris Mattern ( 191822 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @04:06PM (#46527153)

      They could call it Quake!

      • Yes, well that they'd be cloning that "Unreal Tournament" game, but it could show off the engine at least!

    • by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @04:13PM (#46527233) Homepage Journal

      That doesn't sound like a real thing.

    • by aliquis ( 678370 )

      You know Steamworks exist right?

    • It's truly unreal that they didn't do this.

    • Things have gotten much better in gaming as of late, but also a hell of a lot worse. A few titles have come out lately that actually have full editors and SDKs, but it's still a far cry (hurr hurr) from where it was at one point. I loved the Unreal Engine, but there came a point (with Deus Ex 2 and the post-Raven Shield Rainbox Six games) where UE titles stopped shipping with editors, and I found myself getting very little mileage out of them. And then of course Epic went from having fairly great Linux supp
      • Things have gotten much better in gaming as of late, but also a hell of a lot worse. A few titles have come out lately that actually have full editors and SDKs, but it's still a far cry (hurr hurr) from where it was at one point.

        Well, the fact of the matter was that CoD and Battlefield proved that it's far more profitable to released a game with a dozen maps, then charge $15 a pop for a half a dozen new maps every three months, than to equip players to make their own and circulate them around the internet for free.

        What bothers me the most is the complete lack of LAN play. Everything wants you to make an account and join a server and do all this matchmaking crap, when all I want to do is play against my friends, in the same room, by

  • by RDW ( 41497 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @03:42PM (#46526887)

    ...couldn't they use it to build UT4? Please? After 6 years, I'm getting just a little bored of UT3.

    • I'm sorry to say, they've stopped needing UT as a selling point for their engine. They make money off of other people making games these days. They no longer need to make a market for themselves.

      Their last generation in major engine improvements was demo'd with gears of war, not unreal tournament. The arena shooter is dead.

      • by Kremmy ( 793693 )
        The arena shooter isn't dead, it just went free to play.
        • Right, and that makes it hard to be profitable for a company like Epic. They want to produce the game, then sell it. It's all these other developers that want a never ending revenue stream and that takes constant attention. Those sheep need sheering.

        • Loadout is the best FTP game I've seen.

          • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

            by Arker ( 91948 )
            Took a look at it based on your recommendation. Requires steam is a very long ways from "free."
            • Took a look at it based on your recommendation. Requires steam is a very long ways from "free."

              How so? It's free as in 'doesn't cost anything until you start shelling out for DLC', which is pretty much the case with all FTP games.

              • That's a cool thing about Loadout. You can pay for costumes and short term double XP periods- but there are no DLC maps or weapons.

                The base FTP game is very fun and it doesn't feel like you're missing anything. I tossed them $20 for some goofy outfits as a thank you.

            • Are they charging to download Steam now?

      • The arena shooter is dead.

        How do you mean, "arena shooter?"

        I presume it means something other than "multiplayer FPS game based on maps of finite size," since that would describe every single successful FPS game, er, ever.

        • by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @04:10PM (#46527197) Homepage Journal

          No, arena shooters are ones where you spawn in random locations, run to grab guns and gear, move relatively quickly, and tend to have little incentive to not shoot(such as long reload times, precision weapons, stealth). With a tendency towards more explosive weaponry and "arena" styled battlefieds. It's a subgenre thing.

          • Gotcha, thanks for clarifying.

            Personally I agree - UT was fun when it came out, but the concept gets pretty boring after a tick. Then again, I've noticed a number of newer games, mostly "freemium," that seem to follow at least a modified version of the arena shooter model - Dust 514 and HAWKEN immediately spring to mind (although, to be fair, I haven't actually played HAWKEN, so I could be dead wrong about that one).

            • by phorm ( 591458 )

              "I haven't actually played HAWKEN, so I could be dead wrong about that on"

              You're not. It's pretty much an arena shooter with some of the addition option of some more modern FPS modes (capture the silo, etc), and exp-gathering to build upgrades (with the option to pay for them instead, of course).

        • Games akin to Quake 3 Arena, presumably.

    • Just go to Xonotic, download it []

    • by Nimey ( 114278 )

      Meh, why not fire up UT2004? IMO that's the best of the series.

      • Totally agreed. My friends and I still play UT2k4 on a weekly basis. With the Heaven of Relics mutator and some of the great Community Bonus Pack maps, it's still fun, ten years on. As it came out March 16, 2004, happy Tenth Anniversary UT2k4!
    • by Saffaya ( 702234 )

      Speaking of which, I usually end up playing the original UT while waiting for my online games to update.
      With Oculus Rift.

      And it still is great fun after all these years.

  • Really exicited to see if they port this to Firefox. They have already ported [] the version 3 of the Unreal Engine to Firefox, using OpenGL for graphics and Asm.js for code. The speed difference compared to the native version should be very small to non-existent, since Asm.js is statically compiled.
  • So, basically you can just pay $19 for one month and then cancel your subscription

  • From a laypersons perspective (by that, I mean not a programmer) this strikes me as reasonable.They are creating a sophisticated tool (is anyone going to dispute that it is, in fact, somewhat sophisticated?) for what appears to me an eminently reasonable figure, and a small haircut at the end of the process. You don't really want an EA hegemony forever surely?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      5% of gross turns out to be 30-50% of net gain for most developers (unless you're Blizzard or EA). That's what's causing the controversy.

      • 5% of gross turns out to be 30-50% of net gain for most developers (unless you're Blizzard or EA). That's what's causing the controversy.

        The alternative, from EA's perspective, is accounting hell. Suppose you say that it's 10% of "net gain". Most would consider it reasonable to consider payroll something that would be deducted before EA's share, but suppose you're a single-op game developer, and you make a game that grosses $100,000. Suppose that after you've paid for your website, your bandwidth, your equipment, your Amazon EC2 instances, your Visual Studio licenses, refilled your Google AdWords account, and paid your electric bill, you've

  • Epic's terms for 4 are quite affordable, that's why we made the move to 4 from three for City of Titans after our Kickstarter last year. These terms are very positive for those seeking to deal with a top end game engine which is, simply, a joy to work with.

  • It's going to encourage "free" games full of mandatory in-app purchases

  • by rebelwarlock ( 1319465 ) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @01:50AM (#46531391)
    $19/month honestly isn't that bad for what you're getting. I'm a member of a few indie dev communities, and I've seen what pre-release versions of the engine can do. It's very impressive, and one guy can do a whole hell of a lot more by himself in a month than he used to be able to, and make it look good in the process. However, I can't help but think they'd have a bigger market share if they used the old pricing model instead. It used to be free to play with, and free to sell games with unless you made over $50000usd. On the other hand, I doubt the decision was made arbitrarily. These guys watched the market, and saw how their engine was being used. I'm guessing a lot of indies had games that didn't make it to the $50k mark, so much so that a subscription cost is better.

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!