Exploring the Unreal Engine

This week marks the first time of me using Epic Games’s Unreal Engine so I thought it would be good to research about its origins, it’s capabilities and what games have been created in the engine.

Unreal’s first outing was in 1998, seen in a first person shooter game of the same name, it was originally planned to be an FPS engine but since then has expanded into many different areas within the games industry and outside of it. There have been 4 different major versions of the engine released, the latest being Unreal Engine 4 which was made free in 2015 and has its source code avaliable on GitHub, the 5th iteration is expected to release nearer the end of this year.

Big games like Mass Effect were made using the Unreal Engine. Src:

The latest iteration of the engine also marks the switch over to using C++ rather than its in-house UScript which removed the need to update the language every iterations and gave developers greater flexibility, it also has other developer benefits too with Epic Games having a generous policy on revenue cuts, making thier storefront more beneficial than giants like Steam.

Fortnite is another game made within the Unreal Engine and is planned to be a test for Unreal Engine 5. Src:

As for the future of Unreal Engine, it looks to be promising, with their tech demo Lumen in the Land of Nanite showcasing photogrammetry, real-time lighting systems and many billions of tri’s on-screen running of Playstation 5 hardware, plus with the engine become free and on GitHub recently, it will become more and more documented and easier to develop in which will lead to more detailed and impressive games in the future.

My goals for the next few months is to create a top-down prototype using Unreal Engine and I wish to establish the fundementals in using its blueprint system and maybe some basic C++ too. At this current time I am unsure what exactly my prototype will be, but I hope to make a modern version of arcade titles like Xevious and Galaga since I have enjoyed those games for many years and feels feasable within the timeframe.