During the GDC 2015, there were a bunch of announcements, and one of the major ones relates to Epic making their Unreal Engine free to use for all developers. You will still have to pay some royalties when your game generates sales above a certain threshold, but apart from that you pretty much get one of the best tools and engine on the market to make your games like the pros out there. This should help indie creators to make more impressive looking games in the near future.
The good news is that Unreal Engine is multiplatform, and supports Linux from the get-go. You can already test for yourself how the engine runs on your Linux PC by testing the Pre-Alpha Release (registration is required) of Unreal Tournament 4. Leinardi, one Linux user on /r/linux_gaming, has recorded a short video to display how it runs on his config (ubuntu / i7 + 16Gb RAM + GTX980 – an high end system):
As you can see it’s fairly impressive even at the Pre-Alpha Stage.
Epic Games had a demo reel to showcase the use of their engine in various games as well, during the GDC (you can see that some games are also running on Linux, even though that’s the minority at this moment):
They even had a stunning non-interactive demo prepared for the GDC 2015, called “kite”, running on the new GTX Titan X card from nVidia. The GTX Titan X is the new high end model of the nVidia line-up, slightly more powerful than the 980 (the Titan X has more shader processing units, more texture mapping units, a higher texture rate, but it uses the same architecture as a base). Of course you should not expect to see this kind of level of details within a game, but just a few years ago this kind of graphics performance was only imaginable as CGI – and now it’s getting really close to real-time.
Here’s an interview with one Epic representative during the GDC2015, conducted by MaximumPC. If you don’t have too much time to watch it, they are mentioning that while Unreal Engine can target high end systems, it can scale down to lesser performing hardware. They are also very conscious about the need to bring high performance for VR (to get FullHD at 90Hz for both eyes). Around the end they also discuss how crowded the VR space is, while saying it’s a positive aspect as more competition will bring better solutions on the market to push things forward.
Next, I will come back on Source 2 and what we have heard during the GDC about that new engine from Valve. In the meantime you can also check out the recent articles about the new iteration of the Steam Controller and the upcoming AAA games for Linux announced at the GDC 2015.
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