Epic Games just made a trio of announcements today that are going to be absolute game changers for the game development industry.
Unreal Engine Free To Use Up To $1M Gross Revenue
This one is huge! Retroactive to January 1st, 2020, Unreal Engine has been changed so developers only pay royalties after their first MILLION dollars in revenue!
Starting today, you can download and use Unreal Engine to build games for free as you always have, except now royalties are waived on your first $1 million in gross revenue. The new Unreal Engine license terms, which are retroactive to January 1, 2020, give game developers an unprecedented advantage over other engine license models. For more information, visit the FAQ.
Unreal Engine 5 First Look
Epic also gave us a first look at Unreal Engine 5, showing off the two major new features, Nanite and Lumen.
Nanite is described as:
Nanite virtualized micropolygon geometry frees artists to create as much geometric detail as the eye can see. Nanite virtualized geometry means that film-quality source art comprising hundreds of millions or billions of polygons can be imported directly into Unreal Engine—anything from ZBrush sculpts to photogrammetry scans to CAD data—and it just works. Nanite geometry is streamed and scaled in real time so there are no more polygon count budgets, polygon memory budgets, or draw count budgets; there is no need to bake details to normal maps or manually author LODs; and there is no loss in quality.
While Lumen is:
Lumen is a fully dynamic global illumination solution that immediately reacts to scene and light changes. The system renders diffuse interreflection with infinite bounces and indirect specular reflections in huge, detailed environments, at scales ranging from kilometers to millimeters. Artists and designers can create more dynamic scenes using Lumen, for example, changing the sun angle for time of day, turning on a flashlight, or blowing a hole in the ceiling, and indirect lighting will adapt accordingly. Lumen erases the need to wait for lightmap bakes to finish and to author light map UVs—a huge time savings when an artist can move a light inside the Unreal Editor and lighting looks the same as when the game is run on console.
Preview releases of UE 5 should arrive early 2021 with a final release later in the year. You can see UE5 in action in this video. Additionally, UE 4.25 was just released as you can see here.
Epic Online Services Launched
First announced in GDC 2019, Epic Online Services are finally available. This is a collection of free online tools that are battle-tested using Fortnite.
Friends, matchmaking, lobbies, achievements, leaderboards, and accounts: we built these services for Fortnite, we launched them across seven major platforms – PlayStation, Xbox, Switch, PC, Mac, iOS, and Android. Now we’re opening up Epic Online Services to all developers FOR FREE in a simple multiplatform SDK!
Learn more about all of these announcements in the video below.