We have already reported on the very impressive demo that Epic showed on the iPhone 4 at Apple’s fall media event. After the event Epic made their “Epic Citadel” demo, running on the mobile version of their “Unreal” Engine, available as a free download via Apple’s App Store. It was available only for the later models of Apple’s iPods and iPhones which have shader capable GPUs.
“Epic Citadel” has been downloaded more than a million times since then. And although it is not an actual game it has even been reviewed in its own right by many respected industry web sites.
At the event Epic made a vague promise that the “Unreal” Engine would be available to developers at some point in the future. Assuming that is the case then it is likely to be at the same Indie friendly rates that the desktop version of the same engine has been; Epics “UDK”.
When at the Korea Games Conference in Seoul this week Epic’s VP Mark Rein confirmed that iOS is the focus for the mobile “Unreal” engine at the moment, but that it will also come to Android in the future. As well as other mobile platforms, like Nintendo’s 3DS perhaps?
In other comments in an earlier interview with Gamasutra Epic’s Mike Capps hinted that the license for Indies will be at, or below the rate of the current Unreal Engine SDK (UDK). So it may simply be a royalty based model. Which is good news for those that want a professional level game engine that is based on the tech behind hits like “Unreal Tournament” and “Gears of War”. And they want it soon, and to try ideas out on for free, or next to free.
There is nothing ground breaking about the visual fidelity of Epic’s mobile graphics. Those are limited to Apple’s more recent shader capable iDevices, and hence are impressive because Epic are simply using the GPU with a level of talent we would expect from a company of their resources. Certainly in the coming months you can expect a wealth of games with the level of graphical detail that “Citadel” promises. And not necessarily just from Epic. We have id and their equally impressive engine, running “Rage” to look forward to also.
But where the Unreal Engine really gives a leg up to developers is that it is a mature and complete SDK with all the tools and standards that make developers lives that much easier. As well as a wealth of developer experience using the engine inside Epic itself, and in the developer community at large which can support promising projects.
Expect gaming, and the competition between game makers to hot up on the App Store very soon. Are you excited about Unreal Engine on iOS? From a gamers perspective, or a developers perspective? Let us know in the comments…