As if we didn’t already spend enough time on our smartphones and tablets, a new wave of high-end handheld gaming built with Unreal Engine 3 is giving us even more reasons to tap and swipe.
Many new iOS projects are being developed with the Unreal Development Kit (UDK), the free edition of UE3, which requires little to no programming and only costs $99 USD per studio licence, with royalties only kicking in after $50,000 in net earnings.
Crystalised is one studio that wasted no time picking up UDK for Desert Zombie: Last Stand.
When asked why, production manager Cam Phillips said: “It was a no brainer, really. UDK is an industry leading, triple-A games engine that’s been made accessible to smaller development houses with a royalty-based licensing deal.
"No other engine on the market can compete with UDK on mobile platforms.”
Phillips explained that his team has UE3 experience through previous projects and education, and: “with the advent of iOS support for the Unreal Engine, the time to enter the marketplace and have a resounding impact on the mobile gaming space has never been better.”
Mac|Life describes the third-person shooter as “absolutely gorgeous” and Touch Arcade says it looks “pretty incredible.”
Phillips says several notable UE3 tools have really helped Crystalised achieve the desired look and feel of Desert Zombie: Last Stand.
“Unreal Matinee and Unreal Cascade have been pivotal in creating visceral, dramatic and explosive gameplay moments that really bring the game to life and give players a real ‘sense of war,’” he said.
“The new Simplygon tools included in the latest iterations of UDK have helped us to optimise assets on the fly to squeeze the very most out of the iOS device’s performance.
"This allows us to deliver more bang for your buck. It’s an amazing tool and a massive time-saver.”
Crystalised has also benefitted from UE3’s streamlined mobile pipeline.
“The ease of deploying directly to a device for testing was astonishing – it was amazing for work-flow," said Phillips.
"The new tools that emulate mobile features in the editor window have really helped us keep a consistent feel across all platforms."
In addition, Phosphor Games Studio is using UE3 to develop The Dark Meadow, a first-person action adventure for iOS.
The game will keep players on the edge of their seats as they attempt to escape an abandoned hospital by tracking down an elusive witch and battling her nightmarish minions by way of sword and crossbow combat.
Kotaku summed up its early impressions of The Dark Meadow:
“It sounds like the developers reached into a bag filled with the best horror-suspense games, mixed in a little first-person shooter, and sprinkled it liberally with other games that have had tremendous success on the iOS platform: Angry Birds, Infinity Blade, and so on.
"I’ve absolutely no problem with that.”
We just can’t wait to get our hands on both these Epic technology developedtriple-A iOS games.