Mark Rein gives an overview of Epic's UDK easy access development kit

Unreal Set Free

Epic Games recently launched the Unreal Development Kit, a free edition of Unreal Engine 3 that provides community access to the company’s award-winning toolset like never before.

UDK is available to anyone interested in using 3D game engine technology, including game developers, creators of 3D visualisations and simulations, hobbyists, students, researchers and digital filmmakers. Anyone can start working with UDK by downloading the latest software release at

Also available at the UDK website is a developer diary, technical documentation and source code for the first project built from the ground up with UDK.

Whizzle is a vertical scrolling puzzle game by Psyonix Studios that was developed in under two months by one artist and
one programmer.

UDK provides free access to the same great tools used by many of the world’s best game developers and publishers. Unreal Engine 3 is a constantly evolving game engine, and UDK contains all the most recently added features and technological enhancements, including many that have yet to be seen in an Unreal Engine game.

There is no charge for non-commercial or educational use of UDK. The software package is free for all schools and students to use, and anyone can release free UDK-powered games.

Those wishing to develop software for commercial purposes should refer to Commercial terms have been structured to make it easy for independent developers, start-up firms and seasoned professionals to use UDK with minimal financial barriers from concept
to deployment.

Over one hundred academic campuses use Unreal Technology as part of teaching game development-related courses, and colleges with plans to incorporate UDK into their curricula include the University of Pennsylvania, North Carolina State University and The Art Institute system of schools, with many others to be announced.

Epic is committed to supporting UDK users with high-quality documentation and ongoing, free software upgrades. Over 200 pages of newly unlocked reference material are available at the Unreal Developer Network (, and users can access dedicated forums at
Over 50,000 users installed UDK within its first week of release, and Epic has shipped optimisations for stability and performance through a second beta version.

3D Buzz (, the leading provider of Unreal Engine 3 training, will soon release over one hundred free video tutorials on getting started with UDK to complement the company’s existing Unreal Engine 3 video training modules.

Over one hundred Unreal Technology videos are already viewable at the 3D Buzz web site free of charge.

Mastering Unreal Technology, Volume I: Introduction to Level Design with Unreal Engine 3 and Mastering Unreal Technology, Volume II: Advanced Level Design Concepts with Unreal Engine 3, are recommended for learning the Unreal Engine 3 toolset. 3D Buzz authored both textbooks, published by Sams, and each come bundled with a free, downloadable copy of Unreal Tournament
3 for PC.

To discuss anything raised in this column or general licensing opportunities for Epic Games’ Unreal engine, contact:

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