Epic Games Demonstrates Working Version of Unreal 3D Game Engine on iPhone

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Date: Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009, 03:02
Category: iPhone, News

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If you wondered where the iPhone might be going as far as a gaming platform, you might be surprised.

Per AnandTech, Mark Rein, vice president of Epic Games, creators of the Unreal Engine, demonstrated a working proof of concept to the web site with a playable demo of Unreal Tournament. The game ran a modified level from the popular first-person shooter and employs dual-touch controls.

The game has a virtual thumbstick on the left side of the touch screen to control character movement. Using their right thumb, users can aim and shoot at enemies on screen.

The demo employs Open GL ES 2.0, which is only available on the iPhone 3GS and new iPod touch. The PowerVR SGX GPU has been found to make the hardware, in some cases, to be twice as fast as its predecessors.

The report noted that the game ran with a smooth framerate and the controls worked well. It added, however, that the demo clearly needs polishing, but that it is “just a starting point.”

“Epic isn’t announcing any sort of iPhone engine licenses nor are they entering the iPhone game market,” the report said. “Porting UE3 to the iPhone is simply one of many projects being worked on inside a newer, more svelte and innovative Epic Games (wait till you see what’s next…).”

As Epic Games does on the PC side, the company apparently intends to license its Unreal Engine to third-party companies for use on the iPhone and iPod touch. This will allow an advanced framework for companies to build original games around. Epic, at the moment, has no plans to release any games for the platform.

Rein also told AnandTech that Unreal Engine 3 will be demoed on another mobile platform at CES 2010 in early January. The company reportedly intends to take its plans beyond the iPhone and iPod touch.

“This isn’t a platform specific thing,” the report said, “it’s about bringing Unreal Engine 3 to the entire portable market.”

Recently, Apple exhibited signs that the company may be looking to get more directly involved in game development, the company posting a job opening for a game and media software engineer for its iPhone and iPod touch team. Apple has traditionally backed off from first-hand game development, so some degree of change may be in the air.

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