GDC 14: Unreal Engine 4 Launches with Radical Changes

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | March 19, 2014 - 08:15 PM |
Tagged: unreal engine 4, gdc 14, GDC, epic games

Game developers, from indie to the gigantic, can now access Unreal Engine 4 with a $19/month subscription (plus 5% of revenue from resulting sales). This is a much different model from UDK, which was free to develop games with their precompiled builds until commercial release, where an upfront fee and 25% royalty is then applied. For Unreal Engine 4, however, this $19 monthly fee also gives you full C++ source code access (which I have wondered about since the announcement that Unrealscript no longer exists).

Of course, the Unreal Engine 3-based UDK is still available (and just recently updated).

This is definitely interesting and, I believe, a response to publishers doubling-down on developing their own engines. EA has basically sworn off engines outside of their own Frostbite and Ingite technologies. Ubisoft has only announced or released three games based on Unreal Engine since 2011; Activision has announced or released seven in that time, three of which were in that first year. Epic Games has always been very friendly to smaller developers and, with the rise of the internet, it is becoming much easier for indie developers to release content through Steam or even their own website. These developers now have a "AAA" engine, which I think almost anyone would agree that Unreal Engine 4 is, with an affordable license (and full source access).

Speaking of full source access, licensees can access the engine at Epic's GitHub. While a top-five publisher might hesitate to share fixes and patches, the army of smaller developers might share and share-alike. This could lead to Unreal Engine 4 acquiring its own features rapidly. Epic highlights their Oculus VR, Linux and Steam OS, and native HTML5 initiatives but, given community support, there could be pushes into unofficial support for Mantle, TrueAudio, or other technologies. Who knows?

A sister announcement, albeit a much smaller one, is that Unreal Engine 4 is now part of NVIDIA's GameWorks initiative. This integrates various NVIDIA SDKs, such as PhysX, into the engine. The press release quote from Tim Sweeney is as follows:

Epic developed Unreal Engine 4 on NVIDIA hardware, and it looks and runs best on GeForce.

Another brief mention is that Unreal Engine 4 will have expanded support for Android.

So, if you are a game developer, check out the official Epic Games blog post at their website. You can also check their Youtube page for various videos, many of which were released today.

Source: Epic Games

March 19, 2014 | 09:44 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I think Unreal Engine 4 engine just killed itself by employing gameworks, which is why we have lacklustre game dev support.. how sad

Oh and the $19 a month + 5% isn't a surprise either, its as if no one wants to mess with it being soo locked down by gameworks. Game Devs have many options now, I don't see them going with a locked third rate engine

March 20, 2014 | 03:52 AM - Posted by JohnGR

"Epic developed Unreal Engine 4 on NVIDIA hardware, and it looks and runs best on GeForce."

Can someone help me here? How many patches is this before running on a Radeon card without crashing?

March 20, 2014 | 10:52 AM - Posted by Mr.Anderson (not verified)

Nvidia PhysX and other Nvidia tools have been in Unreal for a while. The Gameworks is an extension of game dev middleware. Nvidia is really good with theur tools, and it does not to my knowledge affect AMD hardware negatively.

FYI Unreal also employs a number of Autodesk middlewares if I remeber correctly. Not suer how this will be affected since the source code is available at subscription vs the millions of dollars needed to get that access previously.

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March 20, 2014 | 11:01 AM - Posted by Mr.Anderson (not verified)

(yes... I'm not logging in - I'm at work behind a proxy that by coincidence logs passwords with emplyee Internet activity... so ... yeah)

BTW where is the article on Unity 5 ... they are going subscription route too; purchasing a perpetual license is still there too thank goodness. This is what I like to see... options.

Better yet, cover all your base - sum it up... "AAA Engines Now Offering Subscription"


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