It would be hard to imagine the world of modern gaming without the efforts of Epic Games and their series of Unreal Engines. I mean just look at the list of games that have used the engine to craft their worlds; there are too many for me to list here. It’s easy to think of the Unreal Engine as an engine for shooters, but in looking at the list there seems to be no limit to the type of game that can call Unreal home. With the next-gen consoles on the horizon, Wired sat down with Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney to talk about where Unreal started and what Unreal 4 has to offer.
It’s refreshing to see that there are still those in the industry that continue to push the envelope. According to Wired, “[Tim] Sweeney is living in the future, and he wants us all to see it.” And see it I did. I’m usually not a big graphics person, but some of these screen shots blew me away. The lighting was the first thing I noticed as it doesn’t even really look digital anymore. As an “older” gamer, it used to be easy to pick apart the flaws of a digital environment, wonky corners, stretched polygons, lighting bugs; these were all common and we used to just have to live with it. But I see none of that here.
As exciting it is to see new technology, the reality is that I’m vastly more interested in seeing what developers are going to do with this technology. According to the interview the tech in Unreal 4 doesn’t just look better, it’s been “streamlined” for use by developers, “allowing studios to do in 12 months what can take two years or more today.” This is good news for the industry considering Microsoft and Sony have yet to release any real information regarding their next consoles. A shorter development cycle could mean we get our hands on games using this technology sooner rather than later.
Check out the images of the engine linked in the interview and see for yourself. The interview is quite long, but it gives some insight into the minds of those who create the world that most of our games operate in.