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Post news RSS Unreal Engine 3 Free to Indies

The largest game engine in existence with hundreds of shipped commercial titles has just been released free for indie use.

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Only a week after Unity announced the free use of their engine for indie and mod teams, Epic Games has unveiled UDK UNREAL DEVELOPMENT KIT (clever name that) for use by indie and mod teams. While the choice of tools and engines available to mod and indie developers increases by the day, traditionally engines the magnitude and relevance of UE have been out of the reach of smaller teams due to licensing costs edging close to a million.

However while it may be free to develop and release a non-commercial game, should you wish to profit from your hard work the current UDK license states that 25% of all revenue earnt beyond $5,000 will be paid to Epic as your licensing cost. I consider this a small price to pay with no risk for developers who now have access to proven technology.

What will the developers do with this? Only time will tell, I for one see the availability of unrestrictive powerful tools like this as PROOF of the POWER that PC gaming still has. While traditional PC developers (i.e. Infinity Ward and others) may be shunning the PC crowd with "consolized" versions of their game and trying to convince us that the reason for these decisions are to provide a better experience, we know better, and we deserve better. No other platform provides the power and creativity possibilities that the PC does, no other platform makes you jump through hoops to release via digital distribution. Indie developers... I for one eagerly await the games you make because of decisions like this, as I know you only making games you want to make and play.

Comments  (0 - 50 of 146)
tastyjerk - - 611 comments

I..... HUrrggGHH.... *brain spasm*


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Erwaitin - - 135 comments


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8205Mills - - 41 comments


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INtense! Author
INtense! - - 4,098 comments

Apologies for been a bit dramatic with my post, it isn't every day software drops millions of dollars in price and becomes accessible to all

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SIGILL - - 1,157 comments

No need to apologize ;)

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AlCool - - 3,112 comments

The future of indie games is looking that much brighter!

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INtense! Author
INtense! - - 4,098 comments

Spread the great word: Digg.com thou it looks every other site on the planet has the story

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JakeB - - 30 comments

more so reddit.com/r/gaming

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qpac - - 117 comments

Good news spread fast. Another question is that bad news spread even faster. :)

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Ark_ - - 583 comments

You have every reasion to be dramatic about this, great news.

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INtense! Author
INtense! - - 4,098 comments

For those interested here is some more of my analysis (posted in the forum discussion Moddb.com)

This has changed the game quite a bit, and when something like this happens usually it will force others (i.e. Crytek) to do the same. The winners in this situation are developers and PC gamers. The only people who might be a little disappointed with the news are the teams who chose to make their own engine / tools (i.e. NS2, Overgrowth). Because whilst having your own tools gives you absolute control (i.e. no licensing, no profit split, can re-licence to mod devs etc) is the time / risk worth it when you now have a proven engine available, with all the tools already built. Sure they may not operate as you like, but editing existing code is easier than working from scratch, especially when you consider what people expect of todays game engines. Now these devs which once had their engine as a competitive advantage no longer have that with many indies most likely now working with UE3.

I'd be interested to hear their response, can you justify building your own engine anymore? I guess if your game is a success you are MUCH MUCH better off with your own engine to do as you please, but the extra risk vs. everyone rapidly prototyping UE3 / Unity / etc etc games.

And to think we were going to offer engines as a MOTY prize, I'm not sure that is good enough anymore.

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jeffr - - 383 comments

In my opinion, this doesn't change very much. AAA engines are typically geared towards people making typical AAA games with legions of artists who can pump out a ton of amazing models and textures and use mo-cap and other high budget techniques.

Most successful indie games rely on gameplay mechanics that simply aren't suited to a standard game engine.

Even if Unreal gave this to us for free without taking 25% of our profits on top of Steam, etc. we wouldn't use it, and I'm sure NS2 would say the same. :)

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0bas0 - - 63 comments

Yeh you totaly right, to make a succesfull indie game you don't need the best engines, indie games are about the fun factor, and you can reach that with own made engine aswell :)

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Six_Ways - - 31 comments

You've also got to consider that this is not a true engine license; it's more like a "standalone mod" license. I'm not knocking this at all, it's great news, but it needs to be made clear that this is not anything like what you get when you pay the $1m license fee. All you have (which is admittedly a helluva lot!) is UnrealScript and all the tools; you have no control over the engine or source code.

And of course as you mention there is a potentially severe limitation in the long run in what financial control you have over your product. Not to be too cynical, but one potential aim of this could be to get lots of indie games running on UE3 to encourage the ones which end up commercially successful to buy the engine proper rather than port it.

It's also worth noting that there are a lot of cheaper or free or open source engines out there which, at the indie level of content quality (no offense intended, this applies to me too; I'm talking about resources not ability), would serve just as well. You don't really need the world's most advanced shader engine without the world's best crack team of paid-up texture artists to make art which makes full use of it.

I'm not saying I don't think this is good new by the way, it definitely is!

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ImABot - - 42 comments

And that's the thing about it the game engine is a HUGE pare of any game and Unreal Does an wonderful job of giving us the tools to create a game almost from scratch and its amazing because i cant w8 to see the indie game market go up and that's what its going to do as someone who wants to make a living out of game design (im 16 BTW) i plan on starting as early as possible and this is my chance.

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kinesis916 - - 739 comments

I read this earlier. It sounds fantastic. I am installing now. I want to have a play with it as soon as I can.

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J. - - 23 comments

Anybody ever tried to RTS on a console? I dare say, PC Gaming is indeed dying to those who love their games overly complicated. Us gus, we'll stick to them dead pc games. Lots easier to control with the keyboard & mouse

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DemonProwler - - 55 comments

This is excellent news. I'm liking how all these expensive engines are become freely available to hobbyist game developers, Unity and now Unreal (which imo is a million times better than Unity!).

I love how pc gaming is striking back at the pathetic and idiotic console elitists at Infinity Ward by providing excellent freely available resources and supporting us pc gamers!


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MrTambourineMan - - 717 comments

It depends what you wanna do - Unity is more for casual/browser/iphone games - UE3 is for Hardcore developers to be honest(well trained, well coordianted teams).

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DemonProwler - - 55 comments

That's true, i guess i'm just used to the way UnrealEd and all the modding utilities work. They seem more sleek and fluid to me, i've worked a little with Unity and it felt like it had no structure or definition. When i first started using UnrealEd for the first UT it was easy to pick up and i felt that it communicated across how it works a lot easier than most utilities.

I'll be swiftly moving my project over to the UDK i think, i was planning on using a customized Q3 source but now this is available, i'm in awe :D

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GameGuy99 - - 138 comments

well I prefer console gameing for AAA titles, PC has a lot of potential for indies and mods so IDK what I should go towards

Edit: I figured it out I'll use my PS3 for AAA games and my PC for modding/developing and trying out other ppl's stuff

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Ark_ - - 583 comments

Im still in shock. This is friging great.
I cant wait to get started with this, and the 25% of profits sounds like a good deal to me, no risk and still a possible big pay off.
PC gaming is truly great. First unity then unreal I would still like to see valve do something similar with source and I hope that they do.

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Arxae - - 718 comments

you could allso download darkplaces/quake source code, pretty much same difference lol :p
i actualy can't wait for Volition to give out the RedFaction engine for free :D that would be even sweeter then this owo

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Ark_ - - 583 comments

True Darkplaces is a great engine, but it lacks a quite a few things from source ;) . Sure it could be coded in but I am not a great games programmer yet, plus the time it would take to add them.
I would be better waiting for the freebie :)

Also yea geomod would be great to work with :)

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Dodomaster - - 35 comments

You're saying 25%, but also take in account the cut a publisher or distribution platform takes. In the end you get a lot less, but then again, buying the engine is less profitable.

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Twitwi - - 132 comments

sweet more unreal engine games, indies, mods

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metzGRR - - 13 comments

Great addition to the modding community.

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ES_Chrizz - - 108 comments

I just came! its nice but I already had a SDK won it on a CG competition but its a licence for learning but no limits but this is for public use to nice!

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Squiggers - - 713 comments

Brilliant stuff that. Epic, you can have my babies.

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Kamikazi[Uk] - - 1,412 comments

This is awesome it's all over the web.

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frix87 - - 18 comments

Best news evah! :D

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KortalMombat - - 391 comments

Does anyone know if we can play any mod for any game that uses UE3 if we download this UDK?

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M@ty - - 508 comments

Not to my knowledge as UT3 mods require UT3 content to work, which the UDK does not have.

Your best bet is to ask the developers to port their mod for you to the UDK. :)

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Killer_man_1996 - - 511 comments

Sweet... AND EPIC!!!

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Narlyteeth - - 463 comments

Epic, you guys are the best thank you for giving us the best game engine of this generation for free.

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JustDaveIsFine - - 1,546 comments

I'm pretty shocked. I simply did not see this coming. I'm going to research it quite a bit!

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hushpuppy - - 761 comments

I ******* came in my pants!

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pfannkuchen_gesicht - - 520 comments

******* AMAZING!!! Thank you!

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Kyle_K_ski - - 1,013 comments

What a GENEROUS and HUGE development for PC gamers everywhere!

I am shocked by the breadth of this event. Good timing too in the sense that they've already churned up some fantastic mods for the engine. Those teams that have made it this far, would, I feel, be smart to try and make their dreams a reality by utilizing this momentous action.

Wow! Thank you Epic! And here's to a brighter future for everybody who partakes in what's laid out before them!

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Druza - - 215 comments

Good lord of all things gaming! Thank you Epic!

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TheOneKnownAsMe - - 21 comments

Awesome news, truly epic... I'll definitely be looking at UDK as a viable option from now on.

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Hanzie - - 208 comments

This rocks! An Epic move!

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RetroXor - - 66 comments

Quite epic move indeed. Something tells me this is gonna create lots of interesting stuff.

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Highmist - - 473 comments

I mere ****** myself.....finally its free for everione! Although now Moddb will be flooded with unfinished/not good UT3 mods....oh well

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TheOneKnownAsMe - - 21 comments

Yeah, and you can bet that it will be flooded with all kinds of UDK games...

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Wiweeyum - - 347 comments

It'll be nice to take the light off of Steam games for once.

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Jam3s007 - - 1,217 comments

Unreal Engine 3 became free to indies... and i jizzed in my pants.

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Muffinssi - - 53 comments

Never could thought that Epic Games would ever giveaway UE3 for free, thats freakin awesome! For me this is probably too hard to make anything cool and playable, so i can forget my dreams about "make game with Unreal Engine"...

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Highmist - - 473 comments

it caught us all ****, it caught us all. but now we can expect some great things

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lethal_vortex - - 271 comments

awesome we can exspect some quality indie games to come out:)

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