Is this for real?

Game development with Unreal Engine

Simply defined a game engine is the basic software of a computer game or video game. A game engine is therefore a set of tools and programmes that helps game designers develop and customize a game. Among the many software in the market, Unreal Engine is a popular choice that can be licensed for commercial use.


The development of the first Unreal Engine programme began way back in 1995. Tim Sweeney of Epic Games built the first video game on the engine, the first-person shooter Unreal, which was released in 1998. The game was a hit with the players, and Epic Games introduced licensing the use of Unreal Engine to other developers, who began designing creations of their own, which earned Unreal Engine its reputation of being one of the best tools for building life-like video games.

In fact, modern AAA games such as Fortnite, Rocket League, and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order were all designed with Unreal Engine. Moreover, the architecture and cinema industry is also highly dependent on this programme to get their visual simulation needs solved. Unreal Engine 5 was launched a while ago but is still in its trial version. So developers are currently using the 4.27.0 version.

The merits of Unreal Engine are many. The programme relies on a scalable multiplayer framework which developers can fall back on to create realistic, interactive environments across a wide spectrum of devices such as the PC, PlayStation, XBox, Nintendo Switch, iOS, and Android as well as in virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR) giving designers the flexibility to work on different platforms.


The programme remains popular with designers because it permits them to have extensive customizability. Further, thanks to a Blueprint Visual Scripting system, Unreal Engine lets developers design games without writing a single line of code. More experienced developers prefer using the C++ language, however. But what’s important is that with Unreal Engine, games can be developed with two different systems, which makes this programme more accepted.

Moreover, the programme, though it may appear daunting at first, is actually quite easy to learn. It can be mastered in a short time by changing the parameters until the one that suits your game design needs the best is found. You can also find help and support amidst a growing community of designers who vouch for Unreal Engine as their go-to software for game designing. Still, if that’s not enough, the documentation on Unreal Engine’s official website is prepared in detail, making learning literally available at your fingertips.

Moreover, the cherry on the cake is that all these benefits are yours to use for free. Yes, you read that right; Unreal Engine is free to use in that Unreal Engine won’t charge you upfront taking only 5% of the revenue that you earn from the sale of your games.


Getting back to benefits, the programme performs physically-based rendering, making way for settings with photorealistic lighting and shadows. As a result, all pervasive digital landscapes and environments with life-like terrain and foliage can be created for players to explore. The programme’s advanced artificial intelligence capabilities also allows developers to add depth and complexity to non-player characters. The end result is a creative interplay  between visual  grandeur and gameplay complexity.

In fact, latest developments within the programme have emphasized the increasingly popular arenas of virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality with Unreal Engine 4 being conceived for complex types of rendering at high frame rates; helping developers create photorealistic views in real time. Further, Epic Games keeps releasing frequent updates for the latest VR/AR hardware and software that includes Facebook’s Oculus Rift, Samsung’s Gear VR, and Apple’s ARKit. What all this does is making content for platforms like Oculus Rift and HTC Vive unbelievably easy.

In addition, realism can be taken to new heights with the ray tracing technology provided by the programme. Ray traced effects such as reflections, shadows, ambient occlusion, translucency, and global illumination are scalable solutions that power infinite bounce lighting in real time and within strict frame budgets enabling level designers to craft dynamic and immersive environments that complement many types of playstyles. Millions of dynamic lights can now be generated; AI-powered frame rate boosts can now maximize resolution to deliver best-in-class image quality.


So right from the planning stage of the game, where writers will flesh out the narrative to its pre-production where artists  will lay out the visuals, colour palettes, and art styles to the development stage where developers will detail out all the in-game mechanics, physics, and how objects will render on the screen; Unreal Engine can make transforming the original idea into reality so much easier. Maybe the ocean can have more depth, the heroine’s dress more texture, the storm rage more violently – now it can all happen with Unreal Engine.

If you’re someone aspiring to be a game designer in the future, check out our game design courses here.

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