We're fast approaching a time when the weirdly shiny Unreal Engine 3 will no longer be used in big-budget releases, and thanks to a new initiative by Epic Games, the same thing may soon be true of student games. Epic have announced that Unreal Engine 4 is now free to use in schools, colleges and universities, or at least those featuring the relevant courses or degrees. Your teacher or professor will need to sign up for the program here, but if your course qualifies, students will gain all the benefits of being subscribers without having to fork over a monthly subscription fee.
Unreal Engine 4
Normally when we're stunned into silence by a game engine, it's because its creators have rendered an impossibly complex sci-fi setting. At the very least, it's a really wrinkled old man's face. This, to my memory, is the first time it's happened because of a chair.
Last week, we were excited to learn that Epic Games is developing a new Unreal Tournament. If you’re nostalgic for the first-person arena shooter series there are a few audible cues that will immediately transport you back to 1999. The announcer yelling “M-M-M-M-MONSTER KILL,” for example, or maybe the music track for the iconic Facing Worlds map. The composers of the latter, it seems, might return to the new Unreal Tournament.
Interview with Tripwire's John Gibson: "Microsoft's done their best to kill gaming on PC for as long as I can remember"
In April, I spent an entire day at Tripwire Interactive's office in Atlanta, Georgia getting the first look at Killing Floor 2. We talked about KF2's new gore system (enemies burst apart dynamically in 19 places), blood system (every drop of blood stays on the map for an entire match), and new guns, which live up to Tripwire's reputation for accuracy.
I also spent a good deal of time talking to Tripwire president John Gibson about PC gaming at large—his thoughts on SteamOS and the Steam Controller, Epic's Unreal Engine 4, and Battlefield 4's ongoing issues. As always, he had strong opinions about the present problems and future possibilities of PC gaming. His boldest prediction: almost every PC game will end up on Linux eventually, and PC gaming will thrive as a result.
If Nintendo ever got around to licensing Unreal Engine 4, it might look something like this. That is to say, freaking amazing. One man has recreated the iconic Temple of Time from the N64's Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time inside Epic Games' new engine. A designer by the name of Michael Eurek spent six months working in Z-Brush, Maya and Photoshop for the video below. Just look at those stained glass windows.
It's just one of a number of UE4 fan projects that show off the potential of Epic's most recent engine—particularly the lush lighting effects and pretty particles. The really tantalising part is picturing how developers will utilise the engine's power, even if the first wave of releases aren't exactly pushing for realism.
Epic Games announced the future of Unreal Tournament today. The great news is that it will indeed have a future, meaning you can now start anticipating another Unreal Tournament, though we have no idea when it will come out or what it will be called. However, everything else about the game’s development is different from what you’d expect from Epic, or any other developer for that matter.
Be still, my heart. Epic Games vice president Mark Rein has posted the words on Twitter I've been waiting years for: Unreal Tournament is coming back. We don't know what form it will take, but Rein followed up his original tweet "I love Unreal Tournament, so excited for the comeback" with a confirmation—"Yes UT coming back!"—and a link to Epic's Unreal Engine Twitch account, where the future of Unreal Tournament will be revealed Thursday, May 8 at 2PM EST.
It's been but a month since Epic unleashed the source code and toolset for its powerful Unreal Engine 4 to studios and individual subscribers alike, but major updates are already bolstering the engine's considerable capabilities. The big news in Epic's 4.1 update notes is full support for packaging games onto SteamOS and Linux platforms, a strong move catering to indie game-smiths and companies looking to unhook themselves from a reliance on Windows.
We are fast approaching the first wave of Unreal Engine 4 releases, but so far we’ve seen very little of Epic Games’ showcase for the engine, Fortnite. Today, Epic revealed a couple more details about it, and invited players to sign up to an upcoming Alpha test.
Caffeine, a first-person horror game powered by Unreal Engine 4, has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. If it hits its funding goal, Caffeine promises to deliver a chilling, beautiful experience inspired by Doom 3, Condemned, and FEAR 2.
At a GDC 2014 press briefing today, Epic founder Tim Sweeney announced that Unreal Engine 4 is now available for game development, but not just for big studios. Access to the binary development tools and the UE4 source code is now included in a $19/mo subscription plan. Developers will also pay Epic five percent of any revenue earned from UE4 developed games.
When you think about Unreal Engine 4, the newest, shiniest game engine, you probably think about games that will require you to buy a new graphics card, not something that can run in your browser. But UE4 is built for both. Epic Games and Mozilla recently showed Epic Soul, a UE4 demo, running in Firefox at near-native speeds without plugins.
I'll soon be able to use the Oculus Rift with my microwave, the way things are going, affording me a 360 degree view of my morning porridge as it misses the sweet spot and turns to glue. I can't wait. I'm also quite excited about Unreal Engine 4, which is the latest Games Thing to support the VR helmet. The compatibility comes courtesy of Epic Games' Integrated Partners Program, which is corporatespeak for 'we've signed a deal with some middleware companies'. As of...now, developers with Unreal Engine 4 licenses can implement Oculus Rift in their games, suggesting we might be in for that virtual reality future the 1990s promised us, after all.
Make Something Unreal Live is Epic Games’ yearly talent competition, challenging European students to cobble together a prototype using the free Unreal Development Kit. Victorious entrants get more than a pat on the head: this year, they scoop an Unreal Engine 4 licence, among other prizes yet to be announced. Needless to say, competition is fierce. I popped along to the final heat of the competition yesterday at the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre, in which four student teams are currently ensconced, scrabbling to put the finishing touches to their games before judging begins on Sunday.
This is more like it! All this messing about with old men's faces has been great and all, but it's not really what games are about. Games are about grey corridors, faintly futuristic military hardware and hovering robots that go "WOOWOOWOOWOOooooooooooh" as they fly by. Epic have given us all of that and more with their Unreal Engine 4 tech demo, Infiltrator, unveiled at GDC.
The annual Game Developers Conference is underway in San Francisco. What can we expect? Candid retrospectives? Shock reveals? Will David Cage's Giant Floating Man Face do battle with Nvidia's Giant Floating Man Face above a flaming pit?
We'll be bringing you all the latest from the frontlines and keeping this page updated with all the stories so far.
Some showreel snippets of CryEngine 3 and Unreal Engine 4 have been glimpsed at GDC 2013 and picked up by GameTrailers, but will the next generation of graphics engines from Crytek and Epic make our eyeballs happy? Worryingly, mine are increasingly hard to please. I look at pictures of our planet from space and the brain thinks "OOOH" but the eyes - saturated with the splendour of Bioshock Infinite's flying cities and Dunwall sunsets - remain steadfastly nonchalant.
Perhaps that's why I'm not blown away by the footage we've seen so far of the new engines. But maybe that's the eyeballs talking. What do yours think?
Aptly named developers Zombie Studios have unveiled the first footage of their Unreal Engine 4-fuelled horror game. We mentioned Daylight back in February, but it's particularly impressive in motion, showing its protagonist exploring a seemingly abandoned location, with only a phone (and later flares and glowsticks) for company. Whereas I'd hide in a corner and check Twitter until the ghosts got me, the star of Daylight loads up the Compass app and decides to do some exorcism, cleansing creepily possessed dolls and teddy bears in the procedurally generated hospital she finds herself in.
Phosphor Games - the team behind the customisable action game and Kickstarter hopeful Project Awakened - have released an Unreal Engine 4 tech demo, detailing some of their progress with the middleware. It's clearly early days in the UE4 transition, but it shows off some of the detailed textures and effects possible with the engine. Also some seriously prominent arm veins.
Ah Sony, you never quite got the PC did you? The Vaio range of laptops were nice-looking and all, but overpriced lumps might be best used to describe them. And now you’re making a PC-based console in the guise of the new PlayStation 4.
At least it’ll mean all the poorly coded console ports we've cursed our way through ought to be a thing of the past as everybody will essentially be writing for PC hardware now. Good times. So, with this "next-gen" future now so very close on the horizon with Sony finally kicking off the great closed-box bun-fight, what will it take to build a PlayStation 4-a-like PC?