035 – Unreal Engine/Developer’s Kit now FREE

Unreal Editor
http://news.developer.nvidia.com/2009/11/unreal-developer-kit-now-available.html
Main page – http://www.udk.com Commercial Licensing terms – http://www.udk.com/licensing

Unreal Engine 3 now available free for educational or non-commercial use. 25% for games with over $5,000 profit. Full text and more after the break.

please visit http://neopangaia.com (the adult mmorpg/virtual planet earth)
Two of the engines that really made me aware of the possibilities of realtime graphics are the Quake2/3/Doom3 engine and the Unreal Engine (which powered countless games with the “Unreal” name as well as the popular “Gears of War”).

Unfortunately, those engines were always either out of my price range, or required explicit approval from the developers in order to get licensing (and the adult nature of UMMO/Underworld MMO made that an impossibility). The options were always either Open Source, get funding to buy a big engine, or using one of the lower quality engines that allowed a developer to pay a percentage of profits for engine use.

There was also the Source Engine and it’s accompanying SDK (which powers Half Life 2 among other games). Unfortunately none of those options really suited this project in a way that made financial sense from preproduction all the way to release for a game that it only targeting 30,000 players after one year of operation.

Newer commercial engines (full game engines but not specifically designed for MMORPGs) such as Unigine and Trinigy are interesting, offerign advanced features (both already having support for DirectX 11 and GPU/Hardware Tessellation, for example) at relatively low price points ($4,000 and $40,000 respectively at last inquiry).

Ultimately, I must admit that I DROOL at the thought of Cryengine 3 being available for the same sort of licensing that Unreal Engine now offers (free for non-commercial and educational use, 25% commission for games that make over $5,000 profit).

Because Unreal Engine appears closely tied to Nvidia (and Nvidia being many months away from releasing a DirectX 11 compliant GPU/Videocard), I don’t expect DX11 support anytime soon. nevertheless, Unreal Engine technology is amongst teh most advanced available to newbie developers like myself. And in the tremendous amount of time it takes to develop a Beta like this one, I am sure DX11 will be implemented.

Now of course, the inevitable work of finding the most efficient way to develop on it in a way to allow for an easy transition to another engine after the first version is released and making some profit. Several fans have suggested making a less than Massive Multiplayer game as the first ralease and to introduce players to the game world and rules.

That sounds like an excellent idea and will allow me to design the type of experience that can benefit most from the Unreal Engine (while giving a valuable solid foundation for development and a tremendous support community).

Test from the Nvidia information page for UDK below

Unreal Developer Kit now available

NVIDIA now offers the Unreal® Development Kit, a free version of the award-winning Unreal® Engine 3, the software development framework used to create computer and video games, 3D simulations, TV shows, films and more.

Anyone can download UDK and work with the same game development tools used to create blockbuster games, architectural walkthroughs and digital movies. UDK ships with the latest version of the Unreal® Editor, with its unrivaled content creation toolset and rapid prototyping functionality. It can be found on NVIDIA’s Developer Zone site athttp://developer.nvidia.com/object/udk.html or at the UDK home site, www.udk.com.

UDK is free for noncommercial and educational use. Licensing terms are available to those who wish to sell UDK-powered games or to create commercial products or services for business use at www.udk.com/licensing.

UDK includes:

  • The Unreal Editor toolset, complete with fully integrated game editing environment.
  • Unreal Gemini multithreaded rendering system with support for all modern rendering and shading techniques, advanced lighting and shadowing, ambient occlusion and a powerful material system for creating complex shaders on the fly.
  • Unreal Lightmass global illumination solver for high-quality static lighting.
  • Unreal PhAT visual physics modeling tool with state-of-the-art physics system powered by NVIDIA® PhysX®.
  • Unreal Kismet, an advanced visual scripting solution that facilitates rapid prototyping of ideas and gameplay mechanics.
  • AnimSet Viewer and AnimTree Editor, which give animators precise control over every muscle and bone movement.
  • Unreal Matinee, which includes movie director-class tools for creating in-game cut scenes and gorgeous cinematics.
  • UnrealScript, a fully integrated, high-level object-oriented programming language.
  • Unreal Cascade particle effects system for implementing explosions, fog, fire and smoke. Module-based system gives real-time previews of visual effects.
  • Terrain building tool for placing and customizing vegetation, structures and countless in-game points of interest.
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