Epic Games has decided that its game engine, the highly popular Unreal Engine 4, will be given away free of charge for game developers. The company has introduced a brand new licensing model for its engine: it will be offered to game builders to work with, and they don’t have to pay anything for its use as long as their games have no revenues. As soon as a game starts generating revenues of at least $3000 in a quarter, Epic Games is paid 5% of its revenues. This way developers can save a lot of cash on the game engine – a significant part of any game’s development costs – and don’t have to pay a dime as long as their games don’t generate revenues.
I don’t know why Epic has decided to also offer their new Unreal Tournament game free of charge. The game has the same incredible speed and atmosphere as all the other UT installments – although sometimes it feels much more similar to the original Unreal Tournament than to any other installments released afterwards. The game has all the classic weapons in it – the Bio rifle, the minigun, the Enforcer, the Shock Rifle, and my personal favorite, the Flak Cannon. All guns (except the flak cannon) have received some new functions, but other than that they look and feel much like the ones in the original UT – damn, I feel nostalgic!
The new Unreal Tournament is still under heavy development, with just a handful of maps available. But these are heavily played – I found a game on a server that had about ten times the players that could have played in a normal manner, so there was a frag every few seconds. After just 10 minutes on that server I left the game, checking out a new player promotion at www.royalvegascasino.com instead – just to relax. It was more than I could take at that moment.
The new Unreal Tournament is played by many due to the media coverage it had, and the fact that the series was always highly popular among dedicated FPS / Shooter / Deathmatch fans. Even in this early stage of its development the game looks and feels excellent, and the maps – although sometimes unfinished – feel like they are well thought out and exciting to play. For the future I can only hope that not just players, but the community of developers will also jump on this excellent game, constantly growing the number of player models, weapon models, game modes and lots and lots of excellent maps to play on, turning Unreal Tournament into the best (hopefully free) online multiplayer FPS of the year. It certainly deserves it.