As if we didn’t already spend enough time on our smartphones and tablets, a new wave of high-end handheld gaming built with Unreal Engine 3 is giving us even more reasons to tap and swipe. Many new iOS mobile game projects are being developed with the Unreal Development Kit (UDK), the free edition of UE3, which requires little to no programming and only costs $99 per studio license (US dollars), with royalties only kicking in after $50,000 in net earnings.
Crystalised is one studio that wasted no time picking up UDK for Desert Zombie: Last Stand. When asked why, production manager Cam Phillips said, “It was a no brainer, really! UDK is an industry leading, AAA games engine that’s been made accessible to smaller development houses with a royalty-based licensing deal. No other engine on the market can compete with UDK on mobile platforms.”
Phillips explained that his the team has UE3 experience through previous projects and education, and “with the advent of iOS support for the Unreal Engine, the time to enter the marketplace and have a resounding impact on the mobile gaming space has never been better.”
Mac|Life describes the third-person shooter as “absolutely gorgeous” and Touch Arcade says it looks “pretty incredible.” Phillips says several notable UE3 tools have really helped Crystalised achieve the desired look and feel of Desert Zombie: Last Stand.
“Unreal Matinee and Unreal Cascade have been pivotal in creating visceral, dramatic and explosive gameplay moments that really bring the game to life and give players a real ‘sense of war,’” he said.
“The new Simplygon tools included in the latest iterations of UDK have helped us to optimize assets on the fly to squeeze the very most out of the iOS device’s performance, allowing us to deliver more bang for your buck. Amazing tool and a massive time-saver!”
Crystalised has also benefitted from UE3’s streamlined mobile pipeline. “The ease of deploying directly to a device for testing was astonishing – amazing workflow. The new tools that emulate mobile features in the editor window have really helped us keep a consistent feel across all platforms,” said Phillips.
Speaking of Epic’s support resources for developers, namely the Unreal Developer Network (UDN), Phillips remarked, “The UDN has been an invaluable source of information. It’s always reassuring to have complete documentation – from the most fundamental principles to the most technical details – on hand at any time.”
He continued, “The Epic forums are a great place for the community to gather and share tips and help out with any problems that arise. It’s really cool to see so many people rallied around an engine and taking an active role in the development community. We’ve also had some direct contact with Epic employees over email, and they’re always more than happy to help us out with queries about licensing, build releases, and more.”
Epic wishes Crystalised all the best with the launch of their flagship title, Desert Zombie: Last Stand. If your team is working on a really exciting UDK project and you’d like to share it with us, please post your work in our Works in Progress or Released Projects forums.