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Download: Unreal Development Kit

Epic has released the Unreal Development Kit (UDK), a free version of Unreal Engine 3 for aspiring game developers. It's absolutely free for noncommercial and educational purposes. Those that wish to use Unreal Engine 3 for commercial use will need should refer to licensing terms at www.udk.com/licensing. The press announcement, demonstration video and features list can be seen after the jump. For more information, users can visit the official forums or the UDK documentation page.

To demonstrate the power and versatility of the development tool, there are two free games available, made using the UDK. They are:

Whizzle: A vertical scrolling puzzle game in which players swim through levels as Whizzle, an adorable sea creature that collects items and frees tiny comrades from captivity. Avoid the electrifying stingers of the jellyfish! More information about Whizzle, including a developer diary video, can be seen after the jump.

The Ball: An episodic, puzzle-based action game. Known as one of the most award-winning Unreal Tournament 3 mods in the $1 Million Intel Make Something Unreal Contest, "The Ball" has won honors for Best Use of Physics, Best Game Type and Best FPS Mod. Toltec Studios has ported over its UT3 mod to UDK, and the free, standalone version of The Ball is available for download.

Download Unreal Development Kit (562 MB)
Download HD Unreal Development Kit Launch Trailer (80 MB)
Download HD UDK Psyonix Developer Diary (344 MB)

Download Whizzle (112 MB)
Download The Ball UDK Demo (359 MB)

Epic Games Announces Unreal Development Kit, Powered by Unreal Engine 3
Industry Leading 3D Game Engine Toolset Now Available for Free

CARY, N.C. (November 5, 2009) – Epic Games, Inc. announces the launch of the Unreal Development Kit (UDK), a free edition of Unreal Engine 3 that provides community access to the award-winning toolset like never before. This software release is available to anyone interested in using 3D game engine technology, including game developers, students, hobbyists, researchers, creators of 3D visualizations and simulations, and digital filmmakers. Anyone can start working with the industry-leading Unreal Engine 3 toolset by downloading UDK at www.udk.com, where detailed product features, technical documentation, commercial licensing terms, support resources and more are also available.

An unprecedented milestone in game development, the release of UDK awards free access to the same world-class tools and technology used by many of the world's best video game developers and publishers. Unreal Engine 3 is a constantly evolving game engine, and UDK contains all the most recently added features and technological enhancements, including many that have yet to be seen in an Unreal Engine game. Furthermore, Epic Games will release ongoing, upgraded builds of UDK for free.

There is no charge for noncommercial or educational use of UDK. Over 100 academic campuses currently use Unreal Technology as part of teaching game development-related courses, and colleges with plans to incorporate UDK into their curricula include the University of Pennsylvania, North Carolina State University, The Art Institute system of schools, Drexel University, Westwood College, DeVry University and Atlantic College, with many others to be announced.

Individuals and companies wishing to develop software for commercial purposes should refer to licensing terms at www.udk.com/licensing. Commercial terms have been structured to make it easy for independent developers, start-up firms and seasoned professionals to use UDK with minimal financial barrier from concept to deployment. UDK is currently for PC use only, although console support is under consideration. Developers approved to make games for Xbox 360 and PLAYSTATION 3 may inquire for more information by emailing udklicensing@epicgames.com.

Benefits of UDK include the following:

  • Immediate access to Unreal Engine 3, the critically acclaimed 3D game engine technology for cross-platform game development.
  • Easy content creation with the Unreal Editor, a fully integrated suite of top-tier development tools, which comes complete with:
    • Unreal Content Browser, a revolutionary tool for browsing, searching and organizing game assets with collaborative metadata tagging system.
    • UnrealScript object-oriented programming language and Unreal Kismet, a visual scripting system that enables rapid prototyping on the fly.
    • Unreal Matinee, a powerful tool with movie director-class controls for building in-game cinematics and gorgeous cut scenes.
    • Unreal Cascade, an advanced particle physics and environmental effects editor that aids the creation of fire, fog, explosions and other visuals.
    • NVIDIA PhysX-powered physics system with Unreal PhAT visual modeling tool for creating character and object physics rigs.
    • Unreal Lightmass, a global illumination system that dramatically lights and shadows with minimal effort required by artists and designers.
    • AnimSet Viewer and AnimTree Editor, which give animators precise control over every muscle and bone movement.
  • Time saved thanks to technology integrations with leading game development middleware tools including SpeedTree®, Bink Video®, and FaceFX®.
  • Output of standalone applications: Games created with UDK run entirely on their own with no additional software required. This means anyone can make UDK content and distribute it for free.

"I'm excited about the possibilities the Unreal Development Kit opens to those who are looking to get into the game business but don't otherwise have the means to acquire world-class technology and tools like ours," said Mark Rein, vice president of Epic Games. "UDK is Unreal Engine 3, which has been used to create games in a wide range of genres, as well as military simulations, 3D architectural walkthroughs, animated movies and more. Users are only limited by their imaginations. Go ahead make something Unreal!"

Psyonix Studios (www.psyonix.com), a game studio based in San Diego, Calif., created the first proof-of-concept game using UDK in less than two months using a two-man team of one artist and one programmer. "Whizzle" is a downloadable vertical scroller in which players swim through underwater levels as an adorable sea creature that collects items and frees allies from captivity. To read more about "Whizzle," view the developer diary video, or download technical documentation, visit www.udk.com/showcase-whizzle.html.

Until now, noncommercial access to the Unreal Engine 3 toolset has been available only through the PC versions of games such as Epic's "Unreal Tournament 3" and "Gears of War" games. Users made new game experiences, called modifications or "mods," by changing existing game assets or creating original content through the Unreal Editor tools that ship with every game copy. Many of these mods have been showcased through the $1 Million Intel Make Something Unreal Contest (www.makesomethingunreal.com), which awards over $1 million in cash and prizes to aspiring game developers. While mods require running the original game for interaction with user-created content, UDK provides a standalone experience every time, meaning a smaller digital footprint and no additional software requirements.

"The Ball," an award-winning "Unreal Tournament 3" mod by Toltec Studios (www.toltecstudios.com), is available now as a free UDK-powered download at www.udk.com/showcase-the-ball.html. Anyone authoring mods for Epic's PC games can port their original content over to UDK.

Support for UDK includes over 200 pages of newly unlocked documentation at the Unreal Developer Network (udn.epicgames.com), dedicated forums (www.udk.com/forums), as well as other resources available through the UDK web site, www.udk.com. 3D Buzz also hosts hundreds of hours of free video tutorials for using Unreal Engine 3 technology at www.3dbuzz.com.

Furthermore, Sams Publishing and 3D Buzz recently published two definitive guides for learning the Unreal Engine toolset, "Mastering Unreal Technology, Volume I: Introduction to Level Design with Unreal Engine 3" and "Mastering Unreal Technology, Volume II: Advanced Level Design Concepts with Unreal Engine 3." Both books are bundled with a free, downloadable copy of "Unreal Tournament 3" for PC.

About Unreal Engine 3
The award-winning Unreal Engine is known for cutting-edge graphics and its best-of-breed toolset. Unreal Engine 3 maintains those features in addition to multi-core processor support, Xbox 360® and PLAYSTATION®3 optimizations, massive world support, and a highly mature tool pipeline. Unreal Engine 3's consistently evolving toolset is designed to accelerate developers' productivity for PC and console games, visualization applications, training simulations, and linear animated content. Additional information on Unreal Engine can be obtained through the Unreal Technology Web site at www.unrealtechnology.com.

About Epic Games
Epic Games, Inc., based in Cary, NC and established in 1991, develops cutting-edge games and cross-platform game engine technology. The company has created multiple million-selling, award-winning titles in its "Unreal" series, including "Unreal Tournament 3" for PC, PLAYSTATION 3 and Xbox 360. Epic's "Gears of War" won over 30 Game of the Year awards, and the sales of "Gears of War" and "Gears of War 2" have eclipsed 11 million units. Epic's Unreal Engine 3 is the three-time consecutive winner of Game Developer magazine's Best Engine Front Line Award and is this year's Hall of Fame inductee. Unreal Engine 3 has also been recognized as the number one game engine by Develop magazine. Additional information about Epic can be obtained through the Epic Games Web site at www.epicgames.com.

© 2009, Epic Games, Inc. Epic, Epic Games, Gears of War, Gears of War 2, Unreal, AnimSet Viewer, AnimTree Editor, Unreal Cascade, Unreal Content Browser, Unreal Development Kit, Unreal Editor, Unreal Engine, Unreal Kismet, Unreal Lightmass, Unreal Matinee, Unreal PhAT, UnrealScript and Unreal Tournament are trademarks or registered trademarks of Epic Games, Inc. in the United States of America and elsewhere. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Developed by Psyonix Studios, Whizzle is the first game created from the ground up with UDK. This proof-of-concept was created by one artist and one programmer in less than two months.

Gallery: UDK - Whizzle



UDK includes:

  • The Unreal Editor toolset, complete with fully integrated game editing environment.
  • Unreal Gemini multithreaded rendering system with support for all modern rendering and shading techniques, advanced lighting and shadowing, ambient occlusion and a powerful material system for creating complex shaders on the fly.
  • Unreal Lightmass global illumination solver for high-quality static lighting.
  • Unreal PhAT visual physics modeling tool with state-of-the-art physics system powered by NVIDIA PhysX.
  • Unreal Kismet, an advanced visual scripting solution that facilitates rapid prototyping of ideas and gameplay mechanics.
  • AnimSet Viewer and AnimTree Editor, which give animators precise control over every muscle and bone movement.
  • Unreal Matinee, which includes movie director-class tools for creating in-game cut scenes and gorgeous cinematics.
  • UnrealScript, a fully integrated, high-level object-oriented programming language.
  • Unreal Cascade particle effects system for implementing explosions, fog, fire and smoke. Module-based system gives real-time previews of visual effects.
  • Terrain building tool for placing and customizing vegetation, structures and countless in-game points of interest.
  • Audio control through UnrealEd's visual Sound Cue Editor, plus support for major audio compression schemes; 3D sound positioning, spatialization and attenuation; multi-channel playback, and much more.
  • Built-in Internet and LAN networking support for up to 64 players.
  • Integrations with leading game development middleware including NVIDIA PhysX, SpeedTree, FaceFX and Bink Video.

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