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RSS Feed 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.

Posted by INtense! on Nov 5th, 2009

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 155)
BadgerDeluxe Nov 5 2009, 1:43pm said:

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


+5 votes     reply to
Erwaitin Nov 5 2009, 1:43pm said:


+10 votes     reply to
8205Mills Nov 5 2009, 1:44pm said:


+1 vote     reply to
INtense! Nov 5 2009, 1:44pm said:

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

+36 votes     reply to
Metalspy Nov 5 2009, 1:51pm replied:

No need to apologize ;)

+6 votes     reply to
AlCool Nov 5 2009, 1:51pm replied:

The future of indie games is looking that much brighter!

+5 votes     reply to
INtense! Nov 5 2009, 1:52pm replied:

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

+5 votes     reply to
JakeB Nov 5 2009, 8:56pm replied:

more so reddit.com/r/gaming

+1 vote     reply to
qpac Nov 6 2009, 8:31am replied:

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

+1 vote     reply to
Arkii_ Nov 5 2009, 2:00pm replied:

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

+4 votes     reply to
INtense! Nov 5 2009, 3:05pm replied:

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.

+1 vote     reply to
jeffr Nov 6 2009, 1:25am replied:

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. :)

+3 votes     reply to
0bas0 Nov 7 2009, 1:19pm replied:

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 :)

+1 vote     reply to
Six_Ways Nov 6 2009, 12:09pm replied:

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!

+4 votes     reply to
ImABot Nov 10 2009, 6:11pm replied:

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.

+1 vote     reply to
kinesis916 Nov 5 2009, 1:52pm said:

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

+2 votes     reply to
J. Dec 5 2009, 4:52pm replied:

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

0 votes     reply to
Argoon Nov 5 2009, 1:52pm buried:


PC gaming is dying!


-34 votes     reply to
Quadraxas Nov 5 2009, 1:54pm replied:

it's just resurrecting.

epic so cash.

+4 votes     reply to
jjawinte Nov 5 2009, 10:26pm replied:

Argoon,denial is an ugly thing....

+4 votes     reply to
BadgerDeluxe Nov 5 2009, 10:31pm replied:

Hmm, I'm PRETTY sure he was just being sarcastic, not being serious.

+1 vote     reply to
Dra6o0n Nov 6 2009, 10:26am replied:

PC gaming died, and came back from the dead...
So in that theory, it makes PC gaming a undead or a living zombie...
We love zombie shooters so maybe it has something to do with that...

+2 votes     reply to
Saber153 Nov 6 2009, 7:22pm replied:

makes sense to me even thou i don't think PC gaming ever died to begin with. and all i can say is that i'm going to have fun messing with this engine for a while.

+1 vote     reply to
weasil Nov 7 2009, 3:19am replied:

Does anyone here think that they can actualy use this engine? Because im completely new to any modding/game making, and i just downloaded this thing and its all giberish to me its so dam complicated!! I dont know what im doing even when i read all the tips and tutorials!!!Can someone please tell me if they know how to use this thing!

+1 vote     reply to
madgernader Nov 6 2009, 1:10pm replied:

Yea that's what I got from it as well... (OP being sarcastic)

+1 vote     reply to
DemonProwler Nov 5 2009, 1:53pm said:

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!


+3 votes     reply to
MrTambourineMan Nov 5 2009, 2:01pm replied:

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).

+4 votes     reply to
DemonProwler Nov 5 2009, 2:08pm replied:

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

+1 vote     reply to
GameGuy99 Nov 8 2009, 12:56pm replied:

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

+1 vote     reply to
Arkii_ Nov 5 2009, 1:59pm said:

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.

+1 vote     reply to
Arxae Nov 5 2009, 2:16pm replied:

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

+1 vote     reply to
Arkii_ Nov 5 2009, 2:41pm replied:

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 :)

+1 vote     reply to
Dodomaster Nov 5 2009, 5:34pm replied:

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.

0 votes     reply to
Twitwi Nov 5 2009, 1:59pm said:

sweet more unreal engine games, indies, mods

+1 vote     reply to
metzGRR Nov 5 2009, 2:08pm said:

Great addition to the modding community.

+1 vote     reply to
ES_Chrizz Nov 5 2009, 2:09pm said:

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!

+1 vote     reply to
Squiggers Nov 5 2009, 2:11pm said:

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

0 votes     reply to
Kamikazi[Uk] Nov 5 2009, 2:11pm said:

This is awesome it's all over the web.

+1 vote     reply to
frix87 Nov 5 2009, 2:12pm said:

Best news evah! :D

+1 vote     reply to
KortalMombat Nov 5 2009, 2:15pm said:

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

+1 vote     reply to
M@ty Nov 6 2009, 6:51am replied:

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. :)

+1 vote     reply to
Killer_man_1996 Nov 5 2009, 2:24pm said:

Sweet... AND EPIC!!!

+1 vote     reply to
Narlyteeth Nov 5 2009, 2:26pm said:

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

+2 votes     reply to
ninjadave Nov 5 2009, 2:33pm said:

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

+1 vote     reply to
hushpuppy Nov 5 2009, 2:37pm said:

I Object came in my pants!

0 votes     reply to
pfannkuchen_gesicht Nov 5 2009, 2:40pm said:

Object AMAZING!!! Thank you!

+1 vote     reply to
Kyle_K_ski Nov 5 2009, 2:56pm said:

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!

+1 vote     reply to
Druza Nov 5 2009, 3:01pm said:

Good lord of all things gaming! Thank you Epic!

+2 votes     reply to
TheOneKnownAsMe Nov 5 2009, 3:08pm said:

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

+2 votes     reply to
Hanzie Nov 5 2009, 3:14pm said:

This rocks! An Epic move!

+1 vote     reply to
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