The Unreal Engine is an industry standard tool for developing 3d games, featuring a shockingly impressive set of ready to use cinematic effects and is now almost completely free to use!
The fantastic news for both indie and triple-A devs alike hit earlier today with Unreal announcing that the Unreal Engine 4 will be free to use without any function restricting limitations.
Epic’s Tim Sweeney writes, “The state of Unreal is strong, and we’ve realized that as we take away barriers, more people are able to fulfill their creative visions and shape the future of the medium we love. That’s why we’re taking away the last barrier to entry, and going free.”
A powerful tool, now free to all
Last year Epic decided to shift away from the engine costing a huge amount in an attempt to coax indie developers away from Unity and more towards their product. Unfortunately such a powerful tool isn’t free to develop on Epic’s end and so the cost was a $19 a month subscription. While that’s not a huge price to pay for a developer serious about their games, it isn’t the same as being free.
So whats the catch?
As can be found on the Unreal blog, “You can download the engine and use it for everything from game development, education, architecture, and visualization to VR, film and animation.” Sweeney then went on to reveal, “When you ship a game or application, you 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.”
To most devs this will be seen as a much fairer payment scheme – especially to those who just want to give it a quick test drive. It also makes it a much more feasible tool for education or for people who are only dipping their toes into the realms of game development where before it was premium software for the very best who knew what they were doing.
Now: do you want to simply mess around a bit? It’s free to do that! Do you want to create and publish a fully-fledged game? It’s also free to do that with only a minor royalty payment on your first $3k!
Thank you so much to all of the developers who are building with UE4. We are thrilled to make Unreal Engine 4 free. pic.twitter.com/6ywE8SQpvW
— Dana Cowley (@danacowley) March 2, 2015
This adds yet another great tool to the independent developer’s arsenal along with the likes of Unity, Game Maker, Cry Engine and many many others. With an innumerable amount of great software out there (such as the ones listed in this handy article) it is bound to open up the space just a bit more and give new found opportunity in an ever growing industry.