What a difficult task you have gotten yourself into Epic Gamesand it is that he is carrying his Unreal Engine 3.0 to iPhoneIt will sound Chinese to some of you, but those of you who know this graphics engine know that it is behind the main PC games and next-generation consoles.
For me it is the most interesting news since the beginning of the game developer conferenceeven above the intentions of unifying the different platforms on Xbox Live by Microsoft. To understand the magnitude, we must remember that there are more iPhone/iPod Touch than last generation consoles on the market.
The reality is that it is very difficult to make things on iPhone resemble what we can see in games like Gears of War, Mass Effect or BioShock, but the guys at Epic are true algorithm wizards, so we can hope for the best . In fact, the new engine is being built on the same ideas that have made Unreal Engine a success, conserving 90% of its elements.
This movement is important because it means that other developers with great ideas but with fewer resources or capabilities to squeeze the device can release games at a remarkable graphic level, just by licensing the graphics engine. In short, it will help raise the level.
The main problem that Epic finds is not the processing capacity of the famous phone, but that its engine is oriented to the multithreaded in different threads, an issue in which the iPhone can bring them headaches, in addition to the aforementioned processing capacity.
The second problem is your DXT texture compression system, not supported by Apple. The third was obvious, such as managing the size of the scenarios, a section in which the graphics engine suffers so that the elements do not appear drawn on our face.
One last problem has nothing to do with the process itself, but with the maximum memory an application can have downloaded OTE, since we are talking about 20MB in the last update. Epic informs us that the engine alone is currently on the order of 17MB in size.
The solutions come in the form of trickslowering the quality of the textures and playing with the lights to fool us as much as possible, but according to what we are told, the small screen where the action takes place also plays in its favor: less resolution to work with, and many bugs are hidden in it.
It will also be decided to make smaller levels, logically with fewer freedoms, guiding the games to the “corridor” concept, but that does not mean that they will not be impressive. We have already seen really cool games like Gameloft Novawhich play in the same league as the games that Unreal Engine usually offers, and the truth is that it is not bad at all, but I have a lot of doubts that they will improve what is seen a lot and on top of that at 30 images per second as they promise.
In the presentation it was shown a demo of Unreal Engine 3 on an iPhone 3GSwhat could be seen weren’t real games, but it was running on a solid 24-30 frames per second. I do not want to imagine when these guys are dedicated to passing their engine to iPad or the new generation of iPhone.
In December we had the chance to see it for the first time on the iPhone 3GS, but we didn’t expect that they would develop its graphics engine for third-party licensing, which is the real idea of the news. While videos of the new presentation arrive, I leave you with the ones we could see on those dates: