But despite Epic first introducing the Unreal Development Kit to studios as far back as 2005, it only became available to Indies and modders in 2009. But as the Train2Game blog has previously reported, since the free-to-use UDK has been downloaded almost a million times.
The success of this seems to have encouraged Epic to make their next engine, Unreal Engine 4, available to the public much sooner than the current UDK was.
“What we’re doing with Unreal Engine now is a lot different to what we were doing about seven years ago when we first started using the tech,” Epic President Mike Capps told Develop.
“There was no Unreal Development Kit even four years ago, and I think it’s been real successful in getting people used to our technology. Should we have done that from day one with UE3? Yeah, maybe,” he added.
Capps said that they don’t have any specific plans for distribution of Unreal Engine 4, which is “probably” going to be released in 2014.
“I’m not sure if we’re going to do it straight away with Unreal Engine 4, but if you look at what we do now with UE3 – y’know, push a button and your game is built for mobiles – we could have done that before and we didn’t spend much time on it. How much that will figure into Unreal Engine 4 is up to us.”
He added that indie studios using UDK has helped Epic learn how their tech works on different platforms.
“In the past few years I think we’ve learned a lot about our technology and how it works for indie studios. How our tech works for iPhone games, for high-end triple-A studios and for a couple of guys who make a cool UDK game over the summer,”
“We’re going to apply all these lessons we’ve learned with Unreal Engine 4, and I think you’re going to see a lot of difference with UE3 within the first six months from launch.”
The Train2Game blog previously reported that Epic believe game visuals will match those of films within a decade. Train2Game blog readers may have seen a taste of this with Epic’s ‘Samaritan’ tech demo earlier this year.
So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on Epic making their next engine available to the public closer to the time it’s released to studios? Have you been practicing with the current UDK ahead of the Train2Game & Epic Game Jam?
Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.