Unreal Engine 4 Preview
A special preview and a whole host of screenshots have been released at GDC by Epic Games, the developers of Unreal Engine 4, showcasing the improvements of the new version.
The game engine is essential to any video game: it is what allows developers to build their storyline, their artwork, and their action, over the complex programming that gives the game AI, physics, and lighting. Occasionally a game will come along wherein the team build their own engine, but more usually an existing one is used, and the Unreal Engine 3 has powered more than 150 games since its release in 2006. Examples of titles you will recognise that used UE3 include the Gears of War series, Mass Effect, Borderlands... The list goes on.
The step up to UE4 is apparently going to be a big one. Likely to use DirectX 11, it will give the appearance of much greater detail than has been seen previously, as well as individually controlling and animating millions of particles. Of course there will need to be enough power in the console or PC to allow these improvements to be seen, but with smartphones and consoles likely to move to DirectX 11 next year anyway, it ought not to be a problem for those keeping up with the latest technologies.Lighting effects are said to be greatly improved in this new incarnation of the game engine.
The demo shown at GDC was put together by a team of just fourteen people, and ran on the Nvidia Kepler GTX 680 graphics card, which itself is heralded as "next-gen".
We are likely to know more on this development when news filters out of E3 on June 5th, at which point we should be able to publicly view the demo for ourselves. Keep your eyes open for the next reports!