Unreal Engine 3 is a complete game development framework for next-generation consoles and DirectX9-equipped PCs, providing the vast array of core technologies, content creation tools, and support infrastructure required by top game developers.

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The largest game engine in existence with hundreds of shipped commercial titles has just been released free for indie use.

Posted by INtense! on Nov 5th, 2009

Only a week after Unity announced the free use of their engine for indie and mod teams, Epic Games has unveiled UDK UNREAL DEVELOPMENT KIT (clever name that) for use by indie and mod teams. While the choice of tools and engines available to mod and indie developers increases by the day, traditionally engines the magnitude and relevance of UE have been out of the reach of smaller teams due to licensing costs edging close to a million.

However while it may be free to develop and release a non-commercial game, should you wish to profit from your hard work the current UDK license states that 25% of all revenue earnt beyond $5,000 will be paid to Epic as your licensing cost. I consider this a small price to pay with no risk for developers who now have access to proven technology.

What will the developers do with this? Only time will tell, I for one see the availability of unrestrictive powerful tools like this as PROOF of the POWER that PC gaming still has. While traditional PC developers (i.e. Infinity Ward and others) may be shunning the PC crowd with "consolized" versions of their game and trying to convince us that the reason for these decisions are to provide a better experience, we know better, and we deserve better. No other platform provides the power and creativity possibilities that the PC does, no other platform makes you jump through hoops to release via digital distribution. Indie developers... I for one eagerly await the games you make because of decisions like this, as I know you only making games you want to make and play.

Post comment Comments  (100 - 150 of 155)
Soulseker Nov 6 2009, 10:25am says:

Im not a big fan of UT3 Engine.
But maybe other developers now will do the same, got hope :D

+1 vote     reply to comment
Ark_ Nov 6 2009, 10:49am replied:

Same here really im more into mapping for source, so im waiting to see what they do. But still i have even more respect for epic now and i will still be playing around with the udk.

+1 vote     reply to comment
mckool Nov 6 2009, 11:26am says:

I don't want to downplay this too much because it is great for modders who don't want to purchase Unreal 3 in order to mod with that engine but, Crytek has done something similar when they released the Crysis Wars SDK. (I know, I'm a fanboy - I just love the Crytek editor so much more than any of the others including UnrealEd)

Theyt made it so you could download the free trial of CW and the SDK with the SP Mod. That means that you can run a completely free (and legal) copy of Crysis Wars and create/play all of the singleplayer mods for free.

I have friends who never purchased any of the Crysis games and can play my maps and mods. Crytek is totally okay with this and said so on Crymod when asked.

Now, I realize that this does not apply to the Indie developer like this new development does. That is very nice and I'm sure the Crytek engine is much more expensive than a mere 25% of profits. Honestly, though I do not really know what it costs.

Still for modders, Crysis modding has been free for around 1 year now.

+2 votes     reply to comment
azultain Nov 6 2009, 11:46am says:

why the website of the Unreal Engine is down?

+1 vote     reply to comment
mckool Nov 6 2009, 11:54am says:

I'm sorry if I am spamming but I want to make sure everyone understands what I am saying in my last post:

***All Crysis Wars Singleplayer mods can be played for free without purchasing the game!***

Now I understand the excitement for indie developers but I do not understand the excitement for modders. You could already create free mods if you purchased UT3 which is in the cutout bins for roughly $9.99 these days if I'm not mistaken. Am I missing something?

0 votes     reply to comment
Ark_ Nov 6 2009, 12:44pm replied:

This is the up to date version of the unreal engine 3 and i twill be updated so you get the same stuff as the big company's get. e.g lightmass lighting and more.
Plus if you want to sell your game you can, but if you make over 5,000 then Epic will take 25% of the revenue as your license fee.
So its a good deal to get some of the latest tech with out the risk of no return.

+2 votes     reply to comment
MrMattWebb Nov 6 2009, 11:57am says:

This means EVERY mod can become an GAME. this will revolutionize moddb completely. Lets hope Crytek and Source will be forced to follow suit in their next iterations of their engine.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Karriz Nov 6 2009, 12:00pm says:

Hey, why it does not support shader 2.0?

+1 vote     reply to comment
Six_Ways Nov 6 2009, 12:16pm replied:

I don't think anything on UE3 ever has.

+2 votes     reply to comment
mckool Nov 6 2009, 12:26pm says:

Doesn't that also mean that EVERY mod can now cost money? Look, I understand that this is a good thing for commercial developers because making games is more affordable but, for modders, let's put this in perspective:

1. Modders can access tools that were already available before - they just had to purchase a game and now they don't.
2. The engine is 2 years old and while it is a great tool, it is not the biggest and the baddest. I highly doubt that Epic is doing this same pricing model with their current tech. I'm sure there is a newer set of tools that they are developing that will cost AAA developers the big bucks. This engine only supports DX-9 and below if I'm correct.
3. Mods for certain games will still require the games due to all of the assets in use. (I could be wrong on this point but I doubt it)

Please note that I realize the significance for developers as I've said many times before. I downloaded the UDK last night and messed around with it for a few minutes. It's a nice editor (but hard for me to get used to since I've been working with a different engine all this time).

I don't think it is realistic to expect other companies to follow this example with their current tech but it would be reasonable to do it with older versions.

Maybe Crytek could release Cryengine 2 for free once Cryengine 3 is out.

Again, I just don't understand the excitement for modders over this since they just saved a few bucks on the game in order to get the UDK. For them, there doesn't seem to be that big of a difference.

-3 votes     reply to comment
Ark_ Nov 6 2009, 12:51pm replied:

I replied to your post on the other page. Basicly its mean that Indies now have the chance to use a high end engine with out taking the risk of paying for the license fee. Then if the game makes money you give 25% to Epic.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Reactorcore Nov 6 2009, 12:33pm says:

HOLY ****!

*Head explodes*

+2 votes     reply to comment
do365nic Nov 6 2009, 12:50pm says:

can't wait to see many projects (as there WILL be many) on this amazing graphical engine

+1 vote     reply to comment
cm7900 Nov 6 2009, 1:01pm says:

But do the players have to own a copie of UT3 in order to play the new mods?

+1 vote     reply to comment
Ark_ Nov 6 2009, 1:02pm replied:

Nope games compiled on the UDK will be stand alone.

+2 votes     reply to comment
cm7900 Nov 6 2009, 1:06pm replied:

How dificult will be to compile the games in the UDK?

0 votes     reply to comment
Narlyteeth Nov 6 2009, 1:47pm says:

Ok people are not understanding the exitement. they are saying "what's the big deal? UT3 is only $9.99 and it has the same engine, besides the engine is old because it dates back to 2006"

yes ut3 is the same engine but it doesn't have all of the same features. the unreal engine been around for a while but it's always improving. new technology like the light mass system, ambient occlusion, water physics, crowds, ect, are only in the udk package. unreal is not dated, it's still the industry's leading tech. If unreal didn't ever improve over gears1 on the 360, every game would be made with source or something.

+3 votes     reply to comment
--JoKeR-- Nov 6 2009, 2:36pm says:

i got a problem
when i start whizzle (a little game showing the new ut3 engine ) the screen goes black and the monitor says "out of range"
why, can somebody help me

a link to whizzle download

+1 vote     reply to comment
razorb Nov 6 2009, 3:01pm replied:

maybe the defualt resolution that game is set at isnt supported by ur moniter or soemthing ?

+1 vote     reply to comment
--JoKeR-- Nov 6 2009, 3:06pm replied:

how can i change the resolution without starting the game???

+1 vote     reply to comment
Eegah Nov 8 2009, 2:09am replied:

It may be your refresh rate & not your resolution. If you don't know how to use dxdiag, ask someone. :)

+1 vote     reply to comment
mckool Nov 6 2009, 2:43pm says:

To Faparith,

I understand the excitement for Indies completely. That is obvious. My comments are directed to the modding community.

To Gridlockshock,

I understand what you mean, you are saying that the UDK has improved so you would not get the same tools if you just went out and bought the game. That makes sense though don't they usually release updates to the SDK anyway? I have only had experiences with Crytek but I think I've seen updates to Source on Steam as well.

Anyway, I wasn't meaning to bash Epic. I think what they did is a smart move and excellent news for Indies. I just thought the excitement from modders may be a bit exaggerated.

0 votes     reply to comment
Ark_ Nov 6 2009, 3:11pm replied:

Ah I see what you mean now.
The advantage would be that TC moders can now have a bigger an base as the players wont need to have ut3. But for mods of ut3 that use its content then I don't see much, unless they go the full way and remove all of epics stuff.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Narlyteeth Nov 6 2009, 5:48pm replied:

you are correct. modders will have a very hard time porting their stuff to udk unless it's a full TC. if you are modding ut3 and using many of its content, you should stick with ut3, don't bother switching it to udk.

you are right about the excitement may be too extreme for some/many modders.

+1 vote     reply to comment
mckool Nov 6 2009, 3:34pm says:

Absolutely! That makes sense!

I do find it curious that more people are not aware of Crysis Wars being a free modding platform. It's not exciting for developers but I would think that modders would love knowing that people did not have to buy the game to enjoy their work.

Oh well, it's all good. Peace!

+2 votes     reply to comment
Godwin Nov 6 2009, 7:47pm replied:

Power of marketing for you.

+2 votes     reply to comment
zackiller25 Nov 6 2009, 3:34pm says:

Move out of the way Source!

+2 votes     reply to comment
Gurra300 Nov 6 2009, 6:00pm says:

this will make the mod community for UT 3 to go insane, so many free games will be released now! Epic Games are the best releasing this good engine for free, UE3 best engine ever!

+3 votes     reply to comment
klichka Nov 6 2009, 8:05pm says:

This is awesome and no, the indie license is tiered for indie devs. You see 25% of your revenue is a lot of money. If you're an AAA Developer you are better off paying the commercial fee of 500k. Crunch the numbers and you'll see a million copies at $50 costs around 12.5 million under the model disregarding the other prices you pay for production.

The engine for commercial uses costs 500k. Which is a lot more than any indie dev could ever hope to pay for.

So for independent developers it's a risk-free essentially zero cost investment while not discouraging their commercial engine sales.

At 30 you may sell around 66.7k copies I estimate before you hit the 500k mark if we disregard the 5000 deduction.

At 20, the average indie game cost: 100k copies.

Again I am disregarding the $5000 deduction. The $5000 deduction contributes trivially to the numbers I'm churning out for copies you need to sell before it costs more to use an indie license. Of course, if you make enough that the indie license costs you more than a commercial license, your next venture you can possibly purchase that commercial license because you would have amassed an incredible amount of cash.

+3 votes     reply to comment
NightSage Nov 9 2009, 9:02pm replied:

It seems epic added that 25% to discourage large developers from just using the engine for free, rather than buying a license, since it would cost more if you expect to make more then $5k off of sales.

+1 vote     reply to comment
moci Nov 11 2009, 7:50am replied:

Real AAA developers actually need the real license because with this indie license you get NO SUPPORT.

The same reason why companies buy microsoft office instead of downloading openoffice. It's much easier when you can actually call the company building the software and say "hey what's up with that" then figuring it out for yourself. When buying the real license you get
- training
- support
- coverage for your game if it's good
- only a 1 time payment

That's basically it.

+1 vote     reply to comment
noobthenoob Nov 7 2009, 2:28am says:

can't wait for all those great mods to be available standalone

+2 votes     reply to comment
weasil Nov 7 2009, 3:22am says:

Does anyone here think that they can actualy use this engine? Because im completely new to any modding/game making, and i just downloaded this thing and its all giberish to me its so dam complicated!! I dont know what im doing even when i read all the tips and tutorials!!!Can someone please tell me if they know how to use this thing!!

0 votes     reply to comment
7game Nov 7 2009, 6:41am says:

i have 250/350 Kb/s when downloading gonna try this out ! :D

+1 vote     reply to comment
jjawinte Nov 7 2009, 9:53am says:

This is a sweet engine.Gonna take a little getting used to.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Joe_Shmoe Nov 7 2009, 11:57am says:

I dont think red faction has its own engine, its unreal tech with the GEOmod that allows the destruction hey

+2 votes     reply to comment
CrazyJerick Nov 7 2009, 2:25pm says:

My mental aneurysm feels very sweet indeed.

+1 vote     reply to comment
cm7900 Nov 7 2009, 7:06pm says:

What happen to support for the online play?

0 votes     reply to comment
thunderising Nov 8 2009, 12:03am says:

epic move by epic games...

+2 votes     reply to comment
Eegah Nov 8 2009, 2:12am says:

I'm really, really impressed how much is included here, I kept assuming I'd see some feature that was handicapped in the indie version, but it's all seeming so damn wonderfully accessible.

I think it's great for current mods, much more likely they'll have a large number of fans keeping their work alive, simply because of the standalone installer, no worries about them having the original game or really any knowledge of how a mod works.

+1 vote     reply to comment
GameGuy99 Nov 8 2009, 12:57pm says:

this is awesome i can't wait to mess around with it!!!

+1 vote     reply to comment
kaneli2000 Nov 10 2009, 9:28am says:

That's just... just so fuc*ing cool.

+1 vote     reply to comment
rocketslasher Nov 10 2009, 10:21am says:

does this mean i dont need to own UT3 to download UT3 mods?

+1 vote     reply to comment
XenonFORT Nov 10 2009, 1:13pm says:

There will be an UDK for the UE2 or just for the UE3?
Because I think for me suits better the UE2 than UE3 since it is low-spec PC friendly and more simple, and you still can do amazing things almost easily ^^.

Also, I think since it is more easier than UE3 and require less PC, more indie games would be developed, and we could see more games like Americas Army 2, for free ^^.

And to response to rocketslasher, if you paid attention of what this is, you would have done that, sorry for the language, stupid question. Anyway I'm going to solve it: No, you can't, because basically to play UT3 mods you need the UT3 files which ones aren't in the UDK.

The only way to play UT3 mods are that they get converter to standalone using the UDK.

See you all, and have fun ^^.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Q_Layer Nov 10 2009, 11:26pm says:

Already using it! its just marvelous! Thanks epic!!!!!

+1 vote     reply to comment
azultain Nov 12 2009, 12:01pm says:

the website


+1 vote     reply to comment
Splinesplitter Nov 13 2009, 11:16am says:


+1 vote     reply to comment
penguinfantasimo Nov 14 2009, 2:19pm says:

This is like... the python of game engines.

+1 vote     reply to comment
ShadowWolf93 Dec 4 2009, 4:50pm says:


+1 vote     reply to comment
xxslayer1xx Dec 4 2009, 5:17pm says:

would be nice if there was a version for a linux distribution and mac other then that awesome

+1 vote     reply to comment
ChadaFACE Dec 5 2009, 10:39am says:

A gift from santa for the Indie devs

+1 vote     reply to comment
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