E3 might now be a smaller, calmer event, but it's as busy as always at Epic. Here’s a look at key Unreal Engine 3 announcements and milestones from this year's E3...
PLAYSTATION 3 GETS OPTIMISED UNREAL ENGINE 3
Sony Computer Entertainment and Epic Games announced a multi-stage agreement whereby we will work closely together to optimise Unreal Engine 3 (UE3) for PS3 development to assist developers using the engine, accelerate game creation and maximise performance. Already underway, this optimisation currently affects several developers using the Unreal Engine to create 20 games already in the works and with many more to come.
UNREAL TOURNAMENT 3 PS3 EXCLUSIVE THIS YEAR AND REDEFINING USER-CREATED CONTENT FOR CONSOLES
Also announced at the Sony press briefing was that Unreal Tournament 3 is a console exclusive on PS3 for this year.
Also, thanks to the open nature of the PlayStation Network, users will, for the first time ever on a home console, be able to take the robust user-created content (or ‘mods’) created using Unreal Tournament 3’s UE3 toolset on PC and play them on PS3.
With great performance, and the ability to support user-created mods, Unreal Tournament 3 on PS3 will be everything that gamers have come to expect from the Unreal Tournament franchise.
One news site reported that “you can definitely tell that the engine has been well optimised to run spectacularly well on the PS3”. This is great news for UE3 licensees on PS3 especially considering that we’ll be continuing to optimise PS3 performance leading up to the release of Unreal Tournament 3 on PS3 in November 2007. Windows XP/Vista, Macintosh and Linux versions will also ship later this year.
GEARS OF WAR COMES TO WINDOWS
That Gears of War, the number one selling game on Xbox 360, blew people away with great smoothness and performance shouldn’t normally come as a surprise. However the big surprise was seeing it on PC at E3. To show off the upcoming Windows version of the game, and how well our UE3 Windows optimizations are coming along, we staged multiplayer games of Gears on PCs at 1920 by 1200 resolution. Many users were amazed at the 60 frames per second performance on great hardware provided by our partners Dell and Nvidia. Equal effort is being put toward making the game, and engine, run on lower-end PCs as well. Gears of War will ship this fall for Windows XP and Vista.
UNREAL ENGINE 3 TO SUPPORT GAMES FOR WINDOWS LIVE
Microsoft also announced during their E3 press briefing that Unreal Engine 3 will support Games for Windows Live.
According to Microsoft, “this landmark announcement will make it easier than ever for developers to take advantage of Microsoft’s online gaming network, through Epic’s next generation technology.”
KUJU HAS THE CHEMISTRY FOR UE3
Chemistry is one of five specialist studios formed by Kuju Entertainment. Formerly known as Kuju Sheffield (founded in 2002), Chemistry recently announced that it is going to use Unreal Engine 3 exclusively for this console generation.
Specialising in UE3 allows the studio to get continuously more proficient at using it and develop increasingly polished games over time.
We know this strategy very well because it is exactly what we’re doing here at Epic. Like Epic, Chemistry can take advantage of having UE3 as their common technology base with multiple teams sharing resources and expertise to built world-class games in the most efficient fashion. UE3’s mature toolset, and cross-platform capabilities should help ensure their success
Simeon Pashley, head of the studio explained: “We’ve decided to specialise in Unreal Engine as it’s clearly an awesome next-gen toolset that frees our staff to focus on bringing their creative talents to bear without worrying about the low-level nuts and bolts. It’s also perfect for our future plans as it allows us to look forward without worrying about technology stability.”
Chemistry has two Unreal Engine 3-based games currently in development.
Canadian-born Mark Rein is vice president and co-founder of Epic Games based in Cary, North Carolina. Epic’s Unreal Engine 3 has won Game Developer Magazine’s Frontline Award for Best Game Engine for the past three years and Epic was recently awarded Best Studio at the Spike TV Video Game Awards.
To discuss anything raised in this column or general licensing opportunities for Epic Games’ Unreal Engine, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on Epic 's games and technologies can be found at www.epicgames.com.