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I remember when I started up my own studio, we were looking at different tech, and the hot thing to use back then was UE3. However, getting in touch with the appropriate person was hard and eventually I met Mark Rain at GDC and he said that they were becoming indie friendly with their new initative called UDK. We got the paperwork sorted out with different NDAs and whatnot and started downloading the engine - took us three days since it was gazillion of files and their ftp was not stable. I remember one of our coders reading through the docs and in the docs it said something like: If this is your first Unreal project, make sure you got someone with Unreal Engine knowledge before you start. That doesn’t sound very developer friendly at all or anything that feels very robust. We spent a week trying to compile different projects and what not and eventually ditched UE in favour of Unity3D, which was easy peasy to deal with in comparison to Epic and UE. During my contact with Epic I always thought of Epic and got the feeling of Epic, as being a dudebro company only looking to attract other dudebroes. However, the last two months have been very interesting.
Things seem to have changed now. For the better for everyone involved!
From the announcement at GDC in March, Epic announced that Unreal Engine will cost barely nothing to start with and they will take some rev share if you become successful. The game engine will be kind of open and subscription based, rather than hidden behind gazillion of lawyers and black magic to get your hands on it. This is great for game developers and future to be game developers. It is also pretty awesome that they give you the full source so you can look beneath the surface and teach yourself about the inner things of how the engine is built.
Another great announcement Epic did was from yesterday’s talk at twitch, where they are going all in with open development. The new Unreal Tournament will be built with the community and everyone can participate! The game will also be free! Now that is a huge thing to do, considering the past, where Epic has been this big black box. Great job so far Epic!
All other game engines need to shape up and show their muscles!