3.5.2015

Epic Kicks Off GDC with More News

By Dana Cowley

It’s only Wednesday and GDC ‘15 has already been incredibly exciting for game developers worldwide. This morning, Epic Games shared its vision for the future, announcing a series of high-end projects that help redefine the possibilities of games, VR, animation, and visualization. Here’s a quick run-down of everything Tim Sweeney shared this morning during the “State of Unreal” presentation.

SETTING IT FREE

Unreal Engine 4 is now available to everyone for free, and all future updates will be free. Anyone can download the engine immediately and use it for everything from game development, education, architecture, and visualization to VR, film and animation. When a developer ships a game or application, they pay a 5% royalty on gross revenue after the first $3,000 per product, per quarter. It’s a simple arrangement in which we succeed only when you succeed.

This is the complete technology Epic uses when building games. It scales from indie projects to high-end blockbusters; it supports all the major platforms; and it includes 100% of the C++ source code. Epic’s goal is to give developers and creators absolutely everything, so that they can do anything, keeping control of both schedule and destiny. Whatever developers require to build and ship a game can be found in UE4 and the marketplace.

To get Unreal and get going, go here.

SPECTACULAR VR EXPERIENCES, INCLUDING COLLABORATION WITH WETA DIGITAL

Set in the universe of “The Lord of the Rings,” VR viewers play the role of a Hobbit thief, trapped in the treasure chamber of Smaug, the enormous dragon who has no intention of giving up his hoard.

“Thief in the Shadows” is running on Oculus’ Crescent Bay prototype hardware in the Unreal Engine booth (#1024 South), leveraging the power of the TITAN X GPU to deliver the fantastical experience at a smooth 90 frames per second. “When you come face-to-face with an enormous dragon, that experience has to be believable, visceral and emotional,” said Alasdair Coull, Head of R&D at Weta Digital.

Tim Sweeney: “Thief in the Shadows would not exist without NVIDIA’s support and amazing hardware. Together with Unreal Engine 4 and Oculus’ Crescent Bay, these three pieces of technology place the viewer inside a virtual world of unparalleled detail and action.”

“Oculus continues to work closely with Epic and NVIDIA to deliver incredible, immersive virtual reality to gamers everywhere,” said Brendan Iribe, CEO of Oculus. "The advancements in NVIDIA’s Titan X and Epic’s Unreal Engine 4, combined with the latest Oculus Rift hardware and innovative Oculus SDK features like asynchronous timewarp and late-latching, enable developers to reach new levels of performance, comfort and presence in VR.”

Also premiering in the Unreal Engine booth (#1024 South) is a brand new gameplay experience for CCP’s EVE: Valkyrie, along with Epic’s “Showdown” demo, which debuted during Oculus Connect in September 2014.

A Boy and His Kite: Rich Open Worlds

Epic assembled a team of developers and asked them, “What does Unreal Engine mean to you today?” The real-time Kite demo, taking place in 100 sq. miles of terrain, is their answer.

“Everything in the Kite demo is running in real time in Unreal Engine 4 at 30fps,” said Kim Libreri, CTO of Epic Games. “In addition to our new open world features, you’re seeing fully dynamic direct and indirect illumination, cinematic quality depth of field and motion blur, PBR photo modelled assets and procedural asset placement.”

The Future of Unreal Tournament

Over the past year, the Unreal Tournament community and the team at Epic have been working together, live and in the open. At GDC, their efforts come together in a new update that contains the Outpost 23 map, a visual showcase that's fun and beautiful.

The update includes the revamped launcher, a new customized Unreal Editor for UT, and the new Unreal Tournament marketplace.

GDC attendees interested in jumping in can talk to community developers and the Epic team at our booth.

And as always, everything can be downloaded for free at UnrealTournament.com right now.

Nvidia Opens PhysX Code To UE4 Developers

Nvidia and Epic also announced an expansion of their ongoing partnership, with NVIDIA providing all UE4 developers with C++ source access to the CPU-based implementation of PhysX 3.3.3, including the clothing and destruction libraries, through Epic’s Unreal Engine repository on GitHub. This means that the entire UE4 community can now view and modify this PhysX code alongside the complete C++ source code for UE4. Modifications can be shared with NVIDIA who will review and incorporate accepted submissions into their main PhysX branch, which then flows into future versions of UE4.

Get all the details here: https://www.unrealengine.com/blog/nvidia-opens-physx-code-to-ue4-developers

TUNE INTO TWITCH AND YOUTUBE

There will be deeper discussions on what Epic thinks is exciting in our big sessions. We’d love to see you in person at #2024 West if you’re here at GDC. You can also tune into twitch.tv/unrealengine to get a look at everything Epic is doing. And of course, if you’re here at the show, we’d love for you to drop by #1024 to say hello.

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