IT IS THE OPERATING SYSTEM FOR GAMES
The Unreal Engine is a game engine developed by Epic Games, first illustrated in the 1998 first-person shooter game Unreal. Although primarily developed for first-person shooters, it has been successfully used in a variety of other genres, including stealth, MMORPGs, and other RPGs. With its code written in C++, the Unreal Engine features a high degree of portability and is a tool used by many game developers today.
While Unreal Engine 3 has been quite open for modders to work with, the ability to publish and sell games made using UE3 was restricted to licensees of the engine. However, in November 2009, Epic released a free version of UE3’s SDK, called the Unreal Development Kit (UDK), that is available to the general public. According to the current EULA, game developers can sell their games by paying Epic the cost of $99 USD, and 25% royalty on UDK related revenue above US$50,000 from all UDK-based games or commercial applications. The December 2010 UDK release added support for creating iOS games. As of the September 2011 release, iOS, OS X, and Windows platforms all support UDK-created games.
Unreal Engine 4
On August 18, 2005, Mark Rein, the vice-president of Epic Games, revealed that Unreal Engine 4 had been in development since 2003. Until mid-2008, development was exclusively done by Tim Sweeney, founder and technical director of Epic Games. The engine targets the eighth generation of PC hardware, consoles and NVIDIA Tegra K1-based Android devices announced in CES 2014.
In February 2012, Mark Rein said “people are going to be shocked later this year when they see Unreal Engine 4”. Unreal Engine 4 was unveiled to limited attendees at the 2012 Game Developers Conference, and video of the engine being demonstrated by developer Alan “Talisman” Willard was released to the public on June 7, 2012 via GameTrailers TV. This demo was created on a PC with triple GeForce GTX 580 (tri SLI) and can be run on a PC with a GeForce GTX 680.
One of the major features of UE4 is real-time global illumination using voxel cone tracing, eliminating pre-computed lighting. UE4 also features new developer features to reduce iteration time and allow direct updating of C++ code. New features of the debugger for “Kismet” (a visual scripting engine that debuted in UE3) allow developers to directly visualize code while testing. The developer can then jump to the source code and edit it. Elements in the game can be clicked on directly to more easily change the game world. This also ultimately results in less of a divide between technical artist, a designer, and a programmer. The result is a reduced time to compile code and allows game creators to tweak settings in real time.