The Unreal Engine is a popular game engine developed by Epic Games. First illustrated in the 1998 first-person shooter game Unreal, it has been the basis of many games since, including Unreal Tournament, Turok, Mass Effect, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas, America's Army, Red Steel, Gears of War, BioShock, Tactical Ops: Assault on Terror, Mirror's Edge and so forth. Although primarily developed for first-person shooters, it has been successfully utilized in a variety of genres, including stealth (Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell), MMORPG (Vanguard: Saga of Heroes and Lineage II) as well as RPGs with Mass Effect and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
With its core written in C++, the Unreal Engine features a high degree of portability, supporting a multitude of platforms including Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS and Mac OS X on personal computers and many video game consoles including the Dreamcast, Xbox, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation 3 though the latest version of the Unreal Engine, UE3, doesn't work on previous generation platforms. A great deal of the gameplay code is written in UnrealScript, a proprietary scripting language, and as such large parts of the gameplay can be modified without delving deep into the engine internals. Additionally, as with other middleware packages, the Unreal Engine also provides various tools to assist with content creation, both for designers and artists.
The latest release is the Unreal Engine 3, which is designed around Microsoft's DirectX 9 technology for 32/64-bit Windows and Xbox 360 platforms, DirectX 10 and DirectX 11 for 32/64-bit Windows Vista, and OpenGL for 32/64-bit Linux, Mac OS X and PlayStation 3.
 Unreal Engine 1
Making its debut in 1998, the first generation Unreal Engine integrated rendering, collision detection, AI, visibility, networking and file system management into one complete engine. With the level of integration used, some trade-offs were necessary to maintain performance levels with the hardware that was available at the time. For example, Epic Games decided to use cylindrical collision detection over the IK collision detection system in an effort to maintain playable framerates on systems that were common at the time of its release. Internally, Epic used this engine for Unreal and Unreal Tournament.
This is the only engine that supports the software renderer. Subsequent engines require a 3D accelerator, which are now included on modern graphics cards.
This engine experiences technical issues on modern systems, particularly with fast, multi-core, or variable-speed processors. To resolve this issue, you may need to add
-cpuspeed=xxx to the command line of Unreal Engine 1 games, where
xxx is the CPU speed of the processor.
 Unreal Engine 2
The second version of the Unreal Engine made its debut with America's Army. This generation saw the core code and rendering engine completely re-written and the new UnrealEd 3 integrated. It also integrated the Karma physics SDK, which powered the Ragdoll physics in nearly all Uneral Engine games of that generation, includingUnreal Tournament 2003 ,Unreal Championship and Unreal Tournament 2004. Many other engine elements were also updated, with improved assets and added support for the PlayStation 2, GameCube and the Xbox. Build UE2.5, an update, improved rendering performance and added vehicles physics, particle system editor for UnrealEd and 64-bit support in Unreal Tournament 2004. A specialized version of UE2.5 called UE2X, which was used for Unreal Championship 2, features optimizations specific to the first-generation Xbox. Sound effect use OpenAL with EAX 3.0, 4.0 and, since a mod created for UT2004 to support that feature, EAX 5.0.
 Unreal Engine 3
The third generation Unreal Engine was designed for DirectX 9/10/11 PCs, the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Its renderer supports many advanced techniques including HDRR, per-pixel lighting, and dynamic shadows, and builds upon the tools available in previous versions of the engine. Unreal Engine 3 IPP (Integrated Partners Program) includes:
- nVidia PhysX
- OC3 Entertainment FaceFX
- RAD Game Tools' Bink Video
- DivX, Inc.'s DivX
- Quazal Technologies's Rendez-Vous and Spark
- Fonix Speech's VoiceIn and DecTalk
- Kynogon's Kynapse A.I
- Presagis AI.implant
- IDV's SpeedTreeRT
- EAX 5.0
- Digimask's Diskmask SDK
- Geomerics's Enlighten
- Allegorithmic's ProFX
- PhaseSpace's Motion Capture
- IGN's GameSpy
- Umbra Software's Umbra, dPVS, sPVS.
- Illuminate Labs's Beast (eventually replaced by Epic's own tool, "Lightmass")
- NaturalMotion's Morpheme
- Scaleform GFx
- RealD's RealD 3D Game Developer Toolkit
Epic has used this generation of the engine for Unreal Tournament 3, Gears of War and an improved version for Gears of War 2, Bulletstorm, Gears of War 3, Gears of War: Judgement and all current Infinity Blade titles as of December 2012. Midway Games has also used this generation of the engine for Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe.
Due to aggressive licensing, this current iteration has garnered a great deal of support from several big licensees, including Atari, Activision, Capcom, Konami, Sega, Sony, Electronic Arts, Square Enix and more. UE3 has also seen adoption by many non-gaming projects in spite of the fact that the toolset and source code are meant for games. At E3 2007, Sony announced a partnership with Epic with the objective of optimizing the Unreal Engine 3 for the PlayStation 3 hardware, which would affect the dozens of games and developers currently using it.
According to Epic Games vice-president Mark Rein, an unnamed licensee is trying to port the Unreal Engine 3 to the Wii.
At GDC 2008, Epic showed off several improvements to the Unreal Engine 3 design that includes the ability for far more characters on screen, more realistic water physics and soft-body physics (demonstrated at the show using a "cube of meat"), massively more destructible environments, improved AI, and better lighting and shadow effects with more advanced shader routines. The revised Engine, referred to as Unreal Engine 3.25/5, debuted with Gears of War 2. Another GDC demo of the engine was displayed in 2011, showing the build 7xxx family (Version 3.75) that introduced support fot Direct3D 11 and its features, including [GPU-powered tesselation, true subsurface scattering, bloom and depth of field effects with bokeh kernels and true raytraced reflections.
 Unreal Engine 4
Mark Rein, the vice-president of Epic Games, revealed on August 18, 2005 that Unreal Engine 4 had been in development over the prior two years. The engine targets the next generation of consoles exclusively after the seventh generation. The only person to work on the Unreal Engine 4 core system design so far is Tim Sweeney, technical director and founder of Epic games. However, at the 2006 GDC, Sweeney stated that development will not begin in earnest on the next version until some time in 2008. Sweeney has also predicted that the number of developers would be ramped up to three or four engineers by the end of 2008, and would be aimed predominantly at the next generation consoles rather than PCs. Tim gave a talk at POPL06 sharing some of his thoughts on programming. However, it was later confirmed by Mark Rein, that Unreal Engine 4 was coming to PC. Mark Rein also clarified what Tim Sweeney meant. "When Tim Sweeney was talking about Unreal Engine 4 ... he mentioned something along the lines of it being exclusively for the next generation of consoles… what he meant was, it won't run on this generation of consoles." Unreal Engine 4 was eventually showcased in GDC 2012, and later in E3 2012.
Pages in category "Unreal Engine"
The following 33 pages are in this category, out of 33 total.