Evaluating UDK (Unreal Development Kit)

Posted by (twitter: @ludumdare)
November 5th, 2009 10:01 am

Hi everybody,

Apparently we have even more big middleware news. Epic’s Unreal Development Kit (i.e. Unreal Engine 3) is now available for free to game developers, much like Unity. Details can be found here.


Licensing terms are FREE for non commercial, and 0% royalties up to $5000 (25% after). To compare, Unity’s FREE license allows you up to $100k profits before having to buy.

Historically speaking, Unreal Engine 3 was our go-to example of an unallowed piece of middleware. However, the terms above are reasonable enough that we really should consider it an acceptable development tool. To put things in perspective, we do allow several pay-to-use library/engines such as PTK and Torque. It’d be unfair of us to disallow something with FREE terms.

With that in mind, we’re looking for some information.

** If anyone is up for some experimenting, we’re curious how large a bare-bones redistributable (i.e. a binary) is, or if it’s even possible to make one. Thanks! **

Like any middleware, development with UDK for a competition would be subject to the same content restrictions as any other engine or middleware (i.e. content from scratch). It’s just you’re getting the renderer, stock shaders and tools they used to make Gears of War. This also means you run the risk of less people in the competition being able to run your game, as the hardware requirements are certainly higher than Unity or alternative shaderless middleware. XNA developers have had this problem in the past.

Even though the rules don’t fully reflect it yet, one of the goals moving forward with Ludum Dare is to better define where we fit in. We don’t compete with the IGF and other indie game exhibits, but compliment them. We aim to be a place where game ideas start, and encourage you to take them to the next level. Be it exhibits like the IGF or Indiecade, shareware and casual markets, online services like Steam, to mobiles like iPhone, consoles and beyond. That means embracing middleware and all practical ways of shortening development time, despite us from scratch purists.

Stay tuned, LD 16 info is coming.

– Mike Kasprzak (PoV)

3 Responses to “Evaluating UDK (Unreal Development Kit)”

  1. Codexus says:

    I would guess that UDK is probably better at larger projects than a typical LD48 game, but it’s still really interesting.

    From scratch FTW! 😉

  2. banisterfiend says:

    s/compliment/complement 😉

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