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Unreal Engine 3: When is source code access needed?


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#1 Emperio   Members   -  Reputation: 123

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 05:12 PM

Hello and good day, game developers!

I am gathering information for my company's game project -- our director is setting out to develop a multi-platform release. He'll do this by hiring a team of experienced developers, licensing a Game Engine, and then go from there.

According to our research, we've pretty much chosen the UE3 as our best bet for the type of game we're making. However, one thing I am to present to him is the cost of the engine, which differs vastly depending on whether or not you want source code access or not. I know that the need for a fully licensed UE3 can depend on, "What do you need to do with the engine?" Before I can answer that question, I need some example scenarios when UE3's source code would be necessary. This will help me make an educated decision whether or not we'll need to invest the extra several-hundred-thousand or not (Which we are certainly prepared to do if we do indeed need source code access!)

(I would give examples of general things we're looking to do with the engine, but at this point I lack the understanding if those things are a "No Duh" functionality, or if they even relate to the Gaming Engine at all! I figure I will post some example functionality we're looking to implement after I get a clearer idea what people use the UE3 source code for.)

I may have additional questions along the way, but starting here I feel is a good idea.

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#2 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 22719

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 10:13 PM

Generally you would want the source if you need to build the libraries with options not available in the stock build. Perhaps you have certain memory allocator requirements or alignment needs. This is frequently the case in console development. You would also want source if you had a need to debug and possibly modify the libraries, which is less likely for an established engine. Also if you were worried about the stability of the vendors you would want source code access.

Development directors technical leads or whatever name you choose will be among the first hires. Their job will be to see if the studio needs to make that kind of purchase. For the $10M+ development cost, you really need the leaders in there first so they can give accurate staffing and scoping numbers.

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#3 M6dEEp   Members   -  Reputation: 897

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 03:25 AM

I'm of the opinion that UE3 source code access would only benefit you if you decided to integrate middle ware packages that didn't come with the engine (Euphoria, for example). Your company can drop 99 USD on a license for the Unreal Development Kit and still have C++ integration with Unreal script.

Most of the source code you'll be creating will be done in Unreal Script, which will be for things like gameplay, AI and scripted events. Any remaining high performance or specialized code (special math functions, database connections, player game save handling) can be done in C++ and used in Unreal Script like a library by using their built in interop API DLLBind.

I would recommend you peruse the Unreal Developers Network and contact Epic Games to get more detailed licensing information for your specific use case and project size. All of the information I present is from personal experience with Unreal Engine 3 (UDK specifically) as well as from the Unreal Developers Network.

#4 Emperio   Members   -  Reputation: 123

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 12:06 PM

Generally you would want the source if you need to build the libraries with options not available in the stock build. Perhaps you have certain memory allocator requirements or alignment needs. This is frequently the case in console development. You would also want source if you had a need to debug and possibly modify the libraries, which is less likely for an established engine. Also if you were worried about the stability of the vendors you would want source code access.

Development directors technical leads or whatever name you choose will be among the first hires. Their job will be to see if the studio needs to make that kind of purchase. For the $10M+ development cost, you really need the leaders in there first so they can give accurate staffing and scoping numbers.


Thank you very much for your reply! Dev Directors, project managers and tech leads are certainly the first staff to acquire for this project. I have limited experience in each of those fields, so as of now my job is gathering very general info about the project and compiling a plan of initiation and eventually staffing the resources we need.

This will be one of those $10M+ projects eventually, but right now we're aiming for a free public release with the first 3 "missions". My goal is to utilize UDK's $99 license for that, and then when we get immersed in the technical world and porting over to the console platforms, perhaps purchasing the full UE3 licence for that.

While I fear asking 'newbie' questions, I do feel those answers (as basic as they may be) will help the process despite the likelihood of appearing as a novice in this forum of experienced developers. So my question is this:

Out of the box, UDK has default set to first-person view mode, whereas our game is to be on the more third-person action-adventure side (With first-person becoming activated when equipping a pistol/rifle.) Is this an example of source code manipulation needed with source code access, or would functionality such as this be attainable using the Unreal Script?

Thank you so much for your help, I am loving this passionate development forum!

#5 6677   Members   -  Reputation: 1058

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 03:05 PM

porting over to the console platforms, perhaps purchasing the full UE3 licence for that.

Perhaps is the wrong word. UDK only deploys to windows and iOS, you WILL need a full UE3 license to port over to other platforms (although I'm surprised mac isn't available).

Is this an example of source code manipulation needed with source code access, or would functionality such as this be attainable using the Unreal Script?

I believe there are plenty of samples of this being done in unrealscript, no source access required.



The fact your asking these questions does lead me to doubt this statement:

This will be one of those $10M+ projects eventually

Infact where did that number come from????

To me the fact that you are asking if you need source code access or not brings me to a very very simple answer: no you don't

#6 GlenDC   Members   -  Reputation: 545

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 03:18 PM

Out of the box, UDK has default set to first-person view mode, whereas our game is to be on the more third-person action-adventure side (With first-person becoming activated when equipping a pistol/rifle.) Is this an example of source code manipulation needed with source code access, or would functionality such as this be attainable using the Unreal Script?


Like M6dEEp said before, most things can be done in C++ or unrealscript ( which is basicly C++ with some syntax differences and some more jingle jangle ). I myself made a 3d game. The camera movement was one of our unique points. It was always in sideview from the player, however the player could move in depth. The levels also had twists and corners, so on these points the camera and the player turned automaticly. For some special events the camera would turn on the x-axis ( over the player his head ) so going from sideview -> top view -> sideview ( other side ). Basicly you can do all these things you want to do via your own code. You'll write a lot of classes based on the unreal classes provided with the UDK dev kit. The manual of UDK is really good and they always have great examples.

When you'll read trough the UDK manual, you'll notice how much freedom you have. I believe their is even a 3rd person view example. Which is simply done by adding a custom camera class, a player and one more I believe. I can't check it, cause for some strange reason I can't connect to the website. I hope you can, cause the manual is awesome!




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