So, this is news to me, but, the Unreal Engine (SDK) is currently available under very flexible licensing terms. No longer is the engine targeted solely toward “AAA” developers with thick pocketbooks. Under the licensing terms the engine is actually free to use for non-commercial or educational purposes. For commercial development the terms are pretty reasonable as well; if you don’t mind forfeiting about 25% of the sales made from your game.
This presents a pretty awesome opportunity that Epic has allowed for the little guys. Previously the engine was licensed commercially as the Unreal Engine (Unreal Engine 3 being the most recent iteration) for hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of dollars, which limited its commercial use to only the big dogs. Under the SDK licensing terms an independent developer, such as myself, could develop a freeware game with no money out of pocket. Now let’s consider that I wish to publish the game to make a little profit. Initially, I would be required to pay $99 to license the engine for commercial use. Then, depending on the amount of money I make selling the game I would be required to pay epic 25% of my profit in royalties (after the first $5000 made). As detailed in one of their examples, if I published a game developed using the Unreal SDK and made $15,000 dollars, epic would be entitled to $99 + $2,500 (or $99 + 25% of profits made after the 1st $5,000 profit).
This is great! Even if you don’t plan on striking it rich entering the game market professionally, you still have the option to sit down and learn this very widely used engine. Can you see a downside to this?
So, if you’re interested in the game industry, game programming, or just learning something new I would strongly suggest you check it out. I’m going to.
Thanks for reading! Check back later for more game development and programming goodness.