Unreal Engine 3

D8c69fc0 c17a 488f 94c9 cc4b13058762


Epic Games Inc.

Not specified


Supported Platforms:
Windows, Xbox360, PS3

Languages Written In:

Languages Supported:

Graphics APIs:
OpenGL, DirectX

  (9 reviews)

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Unreal Engine 3 is a complete game development framework for next-generation consoles and DirectX9-equipped PC’s, providing the vast array of core technologies, content creation tools, and support infrastructure required by top game developers.

Supported Features


  • Object-Oriented Design
  • Plug-in Architecture
  • Save/Load System
  • Extensible, object-oriented C++ engine with software framework for persistence, dynamic loading of code and content, portability, debugging.
  • Designed with ease of content creation and programming in mind, with the goal of putting as much power as possible in the hands of artists to develop assets in a visual environment with minimal programmer assistance; and to give programmers a highly modular and extensible framework for building, testing, and shipping games in a wide range of genres.
  • Source control friendly software architecture, scalable to large teams and multi-platform projects.
  • Fixed-function
  • Render-to-Texture
  • 64-bit color High Dynamic Range rendering pipeline. The gamma-correct, linear color space renderer provides for immaculate color precision while supporting a wide range of post processing effects such as light blooms, lenticular halos, and depth-of-field.
  • Powerful material system, enabling artists to create arbitrarily complex realtime shaders on-the-fly in a visual interface that is comparable in power to the non-realtime functionality provided by Maya.
  • Environment Mapping
  • Lens Flares
  • Billboarding
  • Particle System
  • Depth of Field
  • Motion Blur
  • Sky
  • Water
  • Fire
  • Explosion
  • Decals
  • Fog
  • Weather
  • Mirror Volumetric environmental effects including height fog and physically accurate distance fog.
  • Splines
  • Patches


  • Per-vertex
  • Per-pixel
  • Volumetric
  • Lightmapping
  • Gloss maps
  • Anisotropic Support for all modern per-pixel lighting and rendering techniques including normal mapped, parameterized Phong lighting; virtual displacement mapping; light attenuation functions.


  • Shadow Mapping
  • Projected planar
  • Shadow Volume
  • Advanced Dynamic Shadowing. Unreal Engine 3 provides full support for three shadow techniques: *Dynamic stencil buffered shadow volumes supporting fully dynamic, moving light sources casting accurate shadows on all objects in the scene. *Dynamic characters casting dynamic soft, fuzzy shadows on the scene using 16X-oversampled shadow buffers. *Ultra high quality and high performance pre-computed shadow masks allow offline processing of static light interactions, while retaining fully dynamic specular lighting and reflections.
  • pre-computed shadow masks; and pre-computed bump-granularity self-shadowing using spherical harmonic maps
  • All of the supported shadow techniques are visually compatible and may be mixed freely at the artist’s discretion, and may be combined with colored attenuation functions enabling properly shadowed directional, spotlight, and projector lighting effects.


  • Basic
  • Multi-texturing
  • Bumpmapping
  • Mipmapping
  • Volumetric
  • Projected
  • Procedural Supports all modern texturing techniques.


  • Vertex
  • Pixel
  • High Level The material framework is modular, so programmers can add not just new shader programs, but shader components which artists can connect with other components on-the-fly, resulting in dynamic composition and compilation of shader code.


  • Mesh Loading
  • Skinning
  • Progressive
  • Tessellation
  • Deformation Most of our characters are built from two meshes: a realtime mesh with thousands of triangles, and a detail mesh with millions of triangles. We provide a distributed-computing application which raytraces the detail mesh and, from its high-polygon geometry, generates a normal map that is applied to the realtime mesh when rendering. The result is in-game objects with all of the lighting detail of the high poly mesh, but that are still easily rendered in real time.

Scene Management

  • General
  • BSP
  • Portals
  • LOD Full support for seamlessly interconnected indoor and outdoor environments with dynamic per-pixel lighting and shadowing supported everywhere.


  • Inverse Kinematics
  • Keyframe Animation
  • Skeletal Animation
  • Facial Animation
  • Animation Blending
  • Skeletal animation system supporting up to 4 bone influences per vertex and very complex skeletons
  • Animation is driven by a tree of animation objects including: Blend controllers, data-driven controllers, physics controllers, and procedural animation controllers.
  • Export tools for 3D Studio Max, Maya for bringing weighted meshes, skeletons, and animation sequences into the engine.


  • Rendering
  • CLOD
  • Splatting Artists can build terrain using a dynamically-deformable base height map extended by multiple layers of smoothly-blended materials including displacement maps, normal maps and arbitrarily complex materials, dynamic LOD-based tessellation, and vegetation layers with procedurally-placed meshes. Further, the terrain system supports artist-controlled layers of procedural weathering, for example, grass and vegetation on the flat areas of terrain, rock on high slopes, and snow at the peaks.


  • Basic Physics
  • Collision Detection
  • Rigid Body
  • Vehicle Physics
  • Rigid body physics system supporting player interaction with physical game object, ragdoll character animation, complex vehicles, and dismemberable objects.
  • All renderable materials have physical properties such as friction
  • Physics-driven sound
  • Fully integrated support for physics-based vehicles, including player control, AI, and networking


  • Client-Server
  • Peer-to-Peer
  • Internet and LAN play is fully supported on PC and all console platforms.
  • Unreal Engine gameplay network programming is high-level and data-driven, allowing UnrealScript game code to specify variables and functions to be replicated between client and server to maintain a consistent approximation of game state. The low-level game networking transport is UDP-based and combines reliable and unreliable transmission schemes to optimize gameplay, even in low-bandwidth and high-latency scenarios.
  • Client-server model supporting up to 64 players as provided. Also supports non-dedicated server (peer-to-peer mode) with up to 16 players.
  • Supports network play between different platforms (i.e. dedicated PC serving console clients; Windows, MacOS and Linux clients playing together.)
  • A “master server” component is provided for tracking worldwide servers, providing filtered server lists to players, etc. Worldwide game stats tracking system.

Artificial Intelligence

  • Pathfinding
  • Decision Making
  • Finite State Machines
  • Scripted Rich multi-level AI system supporting path-finding, complex level navigation, individual decision making, and team-based AI.


  • 2D Sound
  • 3D Sound
  • Streaming Sound
  • Support for all major output formats of each platform, including 5.1 surround sound and certification-quality Dolby Digital.
  • 3D sound positioning, spatialization, Doppler shift
  • Supports all major sound formats of each platform, including PCM, ADPCM, console-specific proprietary sound compression formats, and Ogg Vorbis.
  • Support for sound streaming on consoles.

Tools & Editors

  • Visual physics modeling tool built into UnrealEd, supporting creation of optimized collision primitives for models and skeletal animated meshes; constraint editing; and interactive physics simulation and tweaking in-editor.
  • AI paths are viewable and editable by level designers in UnrealEd, allowing customization and hinting
  • "UnrealMatinee", a timeline-based visual sequencing, animation, and spline path tool. Designers use this to create in-game cinematics, both interactive and non-interactive by sequencing animations, moving objects including cameras, controlling sounds and visual special effects, and triggering gameplay and AI events.
  • Visual Sound Tool in UnrealEd gives sound designers complete control over sounds, sound levels, sequencing, looping, filtering, modulation, pitch shift, and randomization. Sounds parameters are separated from code to an extent that sound designers can control all sounds associated with gameplay, cinematics and animation sequences.


  • UnrealScript gameplay scripting language provides automatic support for metadata; persistence with very flexible file format backwards-compatibility; support for exposing script properties to level designers in UnrealEd; a GUI-based script debugger; and native language support for many concepts important in gameplay programming, such as dynamically scoped state machines and time-based (latent) execution of code.
  • Visual AI Scripting Tool enabling designers to create complex interactive in-game scenarios, such as player objectives, versatile triggering of game events, and interactive cinematics.


License Name Price in $US Source Code Included?
Proprietary Unspecified Yes
Cost is estimated to be more than $700,000
Proprietary Free No
UDK: For non-commercial use (see http://www.udk.com)
Proprietary $99.00 No
UDK: For commercial use. Cost: $99 down + 25% royalties



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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful

Excellent engine

  by 00000000000000000000000000000000 Anonymous Apr 19, 2010 at 03:14

First on an unrelated note: I REALLY wish people wouldn't knock what they haven't tried. I see at least 3 reviews on this engine by people who have never touched it, one who definitely knows nothing about it.
That one in particular pisses me off because of the lowered rating by someone who just played a game with the engine.

Now, to the engine.
Whenever a game developing company can, they get their hands on the Unreal 3 engine. It's quality is fantastic all around.
I don't know what person in Epic Games decided to release free and cheap versions of the game; but if I met them, I would probably kiss them.

UDK is EXCELLENT for hobby and indie games because you get the quality of a $350,000 (Bare bones) - $1,275,000 (All features, X360, PS3 and Linux support) engine for zip.
If you plan to sell your game, Epic Games will only charge you $99 and then a 25% royalty which, considering this is the Unreal 3 engine, is awesome.

The features are well-known and there is no reason to jump in.
It's very easy to use. The editor crashes on some systems but is still pretty nice.
And, of course, the stability is fairly variable.

Overall, it's an excellent engine at a low (commercial) to free (non-commercial).

If you're a reviewer on this site, please don't review an engine you haven't tried. thanks.

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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful

This Engine Is...

  by 00000000000000000000000000000000 The_Arenafront_Team Jan 09, 2010 at 08:41

This engine is great to use, patched together with high-level animation and lighting techniques, with numerous other features and SDK's, this engine is the Ace in the hole for even game development as large as Microsoft Game Studios

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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful

It is not the graphics and dynamic lighting, but the game itself.

  by 00000000000000000000000000000000 Benmen776 Feb 08, 2009 at 07:50

It sounds good, but it is not the engine that makes the game, it is the storyline, gameplay, and features like making gameplay 9 like the new Spore expansion coming out) or something else unique... so what im saying is that it is probably a good engine but dynamic lighting and realistic graphics are nothing compared to the 3 things i listed above, so really you could make a great game with any engine even an engine like Torque game engine advanced that is only 300$ (without licensing) PS. i have never used the engine but im wondering some stuff? what does it cost and how easy 2 use is it?

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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful

it's very flexible engine

  by 00000000000000000000000000000000 gdprog Mar 08, 2007 at 09:06

I'm game programmer and currently using on UE3. UE3 are flexible. No. 1. excellent

many integrated partners program and looking fxxx good rendering engine quality, sounds good what-you-see-is-what-you-get UnrealEd, UnrealScript, and all of the engine elements are flexibility.

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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful


  by 00000000000000000000000000000000 AticAtac Mar 03, 2006 at 09:57

Funny how some people here, lets call them Unreal Fan Boys, judge an engine w/o having seeing/trying it !
Also, the engine may be nice, but what a *good* game needs isnt a 750000$ engine, it needs good ideas and gameplay and thats something you cann't buy from the shelfts.

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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful

cost of unreal 3

  by 00000000000000000000000000000000 Dean_Avanti Feb 11, 2006 at 23:08

QUOTE- Cost is estimated to be more than $350,000

well here are the details of the previous unreal engine 2


Royalty-Bearing License - For retail console & PC products

A non-refundable, non-recoupable license fee is due on execution of the agreement. The cost is US $350,000 for one of the available Unreal Engine 2 platforms, plus US $50,000 for each additional platform. A royalty of 3% is due on all revenue from the game, calculated on the wholesale price of the product minus (for console SKUs) console manufacturer fees. In the case of massive-multiplayer online games, the royalty is also due on the additional forms of revenue including subscriptions and advertisements.

Royalty-Free License - For any products

A non-refundable, non-recoupable license fee paid on execution of agreement: US $750,000 for one of the available platforms, plus US $100,000 for each additional platform. No royalty is due on any revenue from the product.
unreal engine 3 is more expensive again so if the old unreal engine 2 is US $750,000, then expect the unreal engine 3 to be even more.

I know the price but Epic has not made it public so I cannot say the cost, but common sense says it is in proportion of the difference of UE2 to UE3, so you can work the cost out to that.

moderator you need to change the details on the costings as you are way out.

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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful

Excellent Engine (BEST EVER)

  by 00000000000000000000000000000000 Zerg_OverMind Jun 18, 2005 at 21:13

Just by looking at the engine it I can tell that it has amazing features and probably easy use of them too because I know unreal script and it is extremely optimized and knowing the unreal games, they probably have great support and by reading their site it looks like their support is top notch! Ever Next-Gen game should be using this engine, because I hear what they have been doing is buying other game engines and incorperating it into their own (smart idea) so its probably the engine on top of the world right now...

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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful

siKK engine

  by 00000000000000000000000000000000 sKeMe_oNe May 08, 2005 at 12:42

I hve tried a lot of different game engines i.e. 3d game studio, 3d rad, Torque game engine and lots more but i have to say dat this is the best one. it has da most features and most detailed games can be formed wit this engine. the unreal engine 2 was better than all da others so this shows dat this one is much better.

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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful

Splinter Cell: Stealth Action Defined

  by 00000000000000000000000000000000 Bryce_Carrington Jan 18, 2005 at 21:36

I havent tried the Unreal Engine, but i do know that Ubi Soft's Splinter Cell: Stealth Action Defined was made with the Unreal Engine. Hey, Splinter Cell is a great game with lots of cool features (night vision and thermal vision; my favorite). The Unreal engine must be a good engine. When i can afford it, that will be my first stop when making games.

Some ratings are blank because i have not tried the engine yet.

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Last edited Dec 28, 2011 at 13:11

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