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 (opens in new tab) 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.
What does this mean? For one, Epic's prophecy of propagating its engine into every corner of the industry is slowly coming true. More importantly, it's another crucial step in broadening what defines high-quality PC gaming beyond a Microsoft hegemony. Support for alternative operating systems is baked into the engine directly. All developers—indie and studio alike—have to do is toggle a selection in the engine to translate their works onto SteamOS or Linux systems.
As we've talked about in the past, nothing but good things comes from adding more flexibility to what PC gaming can do. Neither SteamOS or Linux will completely replace Windows, but having beefy engines increase support across more platforms—like Crytek's recent announcement of Linux support for its CryEngine —means a more plentiful amount of graphics punch for all.