Epic Releasing Updated Unreal Engine Dev Kit
Those looking to make games powered by Epic’s Unreal Engine are in for good news, as the company has announced that it will be making an updated version of the engine available to developers on Thursday, December 15. The new Unreal Development Kit is set to simplify the process of creating graphics and animations for iOS devices, which will very likely lead to an explosion of games appearing on the App Store powered by Unreal Engine 3. Infinity Blade was just released last week to rave reviews, and Dungeon Defenders: First Wave is also making its debut this week. Could this be the tip of the iceberg?
While the dev kit is free to download there are some strings attached. Anyone planning to use the engine to make and sell paid apps must first pay Epic a $99 licensing fee, as well as a 25 percent royalty for any title which grosses more than $5,000. Epic has essentially set up a system where anyone can jump in and tinker with the Unreal dev kit, but if you’re making a serious effort then a serious chunk of your profits may well flow right back into the studio that created the tech. It’s fair that they get a cut of the profits, but we expect plenty of debate amongst studio members on the relative merits of paying Epic a quarter of what you make on the game for the privilege of using their assets as opposed to building an engine yourself and keeping all the money.
The Unreal Engine has been a powerhouse in console and PC gaming for a long while now, and it would appear it’s set to overwhelm the iOS landscape as well. Though Unreal Engine 3 undoubtedly makes for some impressive visuals, if everyone starts using it then many games are going to look practically identical, an issue that’s beginning to rear its ugly head in console gaming. On the one hand we’re happy that developers will have access to a high-quality, easy-to-use tool set, but on the other we hope that iOS titles don’t lose their unique visual stylings. Only time will tell how this story ends.