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Unreal Engine 4 to be much more advanced than Samaritan demo

Unreal Engine 4 to be much more advanced than Samaritan demo

Shacknews had the opportunity to sit down on a private, invite-only press conference with Epic Games. At one point during the presentation, the Unreal Engine 4 logo appeared on the screen. (It's blue now, FYI.) Epic Games' Mark Rein told us that the company was showing off its next-generation engine at Game Developers Conference--but only to developers. The public reveal will happen later this year, Rein reconfirmed.

But what is Unreal Engine 4? And how does it compare to Samaritan, the high-powered Unreal Engine 3 demo that's been shown off for years? "If Samaritan looked like a piece of crap, that's what Unreal Engine 4 would look like," Rein told us.

Read more: Samaritan coming to PCs in the near future »

"Maybe he just means you can only make brown looking games with it."
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Epic Games VP Believes Nintendo 3DS Below 'Minimum Specifications' for Unreal Engine

If you were waiting on Unreal Engine support for the Nintendo 3DS before rushing out to pre-order the unit, you might want to stay home. During a GDC Online interview, as detailed by Joystiq, Epic Games vice-president Mark Rein said his company is not working on software for Nintendo's upcoming handheld, stating that "from what [Epic Games] can tell" the system does not meet the minimum specifications for the Unreal Engine. Read more »

"Yeah, but the core processor is just that... the graphics chip can make all the difference. It ..."
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Rein: "Myth" That Epic Has Abandoned PC Platform

Like it or not, there's a large group of "hardcore" gamers who associate Epic Games with the Gears of War franchise first, rather than the company's Unreal Engine or Unreal shooter franchises. The association comes in part to the booming popularity of the Xbox 360-exclusive franchise, set to enter its third installment in April 2011, and the lackluster commercial reception of Unreal Tournament III.

Popular perceptions aside, Epic Games VP Mark Rein is adamant in his company's drive to grow the PC market. Speaking with Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Rein clarified his company's current focus: Read more »

"Wrong, I have a PS3 and its no where near the same as a keyboard and mouse, same crappy analog ..."
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Rein, CliffyB Weigh in on PC Gaming Alliance

Related Topics – Epic Games, PC Gaming, PC, CliffyB, Mark Rein, PCGA

Epic Games founder Mark Rein and designer Cliff Bleszinski voiced their support of the recently founded PC Gaming Alliance, suggesting that the consortium would help unite and revitalize the platform.

"Right now, if you have a laptop with integrated graphics and try to play our game, it doesn't play...So you just lose your interest in that. We don't want that," Rein told MTV Multiplayer. "We want all these people buying laptops and reasonably priced PCs, to at least be able to be exposed to gaming. They can go out later and upgrade to something better, but letÂ’s at least give them a baseline experience." Read more »

"Of course it wasn't exactly bleeding edge tech by the time it came out. It was just a slightly ..."
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Mark Rein Cracks Wise on Epic Buyout Rumors

Related Topics – Rumor, Epic Games, Buyout, Mark Rein

Commenting on recent speculation that Microsoft may buy Unreal Tournament and Gears of War developer Epic Games for $1 billion this summer, Epic Games VP Mark Rein quipped that such an acquisition would be much more costly.

A recent editorial in GamePro suggested that Epic would be purchased by Microsoft for $1 billion by the summer. In a response emailed to Develop, Rein did not comment directly on the rumors of an acquisition but noted that his company was much more valuable than the suggested amount. Read more »

"Epic still fosters a lot of games by selling industry leading middleware, question is if ..."
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Mark Rein Interview

The Unreal Man: Mark Rein Speaks is a Gamasutra interview with the Epic Games VP about Unreal Engine 3, PlayStation 3, Japanese developers working with Epic's technology, PC development and more.

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Mark Rein: Unreal Tournament 3 PC Beta Demo Release Within Two Weeks

Epic VP Mark Rein issued a short statement late tonight, confirming that a PC beta demo for his company's upcoming shooter Unreal Tournament 3 could be released as early as this week. "The development team feels they're pretty close to being ready to release this," said Rein on the Epic forums, "so it could come out this week but for safety sake I'd say it should be out within two weeks." According to Rein, the beta will feature standard online play, as well as an offline instant-action mode, allowing players to face off against the Epic team's oft-touted AI bots. "The purpose of the Beta Demo is to test the game on a large variety of hardware configurations and get gameplay feedback from the community," he added. Shacknews is currently attending an Unreal Tournament 3 press event at Epic headquarters in Cary, North Carolina, so be sure to check back later in the week for impressions of the new game "from the makers of Gears of War."

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"FOOLISH NON SENSE!!!!!! ONLY A FOOLISHLY FOOL WOULD SAY SUCH FOOLISHLY WORDS!"
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Mark Rein Interview

There's an interview with Mark Rein on Eurogamer, chatting with the Epic Games VP at the Leipzig Games Convention. Topics include Gears of War, id Software's new technology, Unreal Engine 3 and the Silicon Knights complaint.

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Mark Rein Interview

Related Topics – Interview, Games: PC, Mark Rein

There's an interview with Mark Rein on FiringSquad, asking the Epic VP about Gears of War, post release content, and the release of Windows Vista.

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"Except that no advertiser will (apparently) agree to have their brand presented in anything ..."
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Mark Rein Q&A

The Computer & Video Games Mark Rein interview continues, with this part focusing on Unreal Engine 3, the PC market, Windows Vista and the Games for Windows push and the Wii.

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Epic's Mark Rein Slams Episodic Gaming

During the Develop Conference in Brighton today, Epic Games VP Mark Rein delivered a keynote about the economic issues of next generation development, and the outspoken executives had some harsh words for the growing trend of episodic game content. "IÂ’ve heard a lot of insane talk about episodic content," he said. "Very little of it makes any actual sense. ItÂ’s a broken business." Rein believes that the nature of episodic development will lead to too much repetition in games.

He explained, “Customers are supposed to buy half a game for $20, then wait six months for an episode? When I put a game down, I want to try a new one. Episodic games that offer faster turnaround will inevitably be using a lot of recycled content, walking through the same environments and shooting the same enemies with the same weapons.”

He said that episodic games could never compete will full-priced products. “They’re competing against massive marketing budgets. Distribution without marketing is worthless. You can’t buy retail marketing with a wholesale price of $15.” He added, “Full-price games have a cohesive start, middle and end.”

In fact, stated Rein, the games industry already operates on a proven episodic model as illustrated by the industry's frequent spinoffs and sequels. "What scares me is people betting their business on making money out of this [new episodic model]." Companies such as Valve and Telltale Games currently have business plans with a heavy emphasis on episodic content. Some of Rein's statements were reportedly criticized by the keynote's audience. "Mark, you are a dinosaur, you are wrong," said one attendant, according to Next Generation. Another pointed out that Rein's company's flagship product, Unreal Engine 3, is heavily geared towards high-end, high-budget game development, and his comments regarding episodic content may be biased and self-serving. Rein noted that Epic offers an Xbox Live Arcade model for its engine. Indeed, Naked Sky's upcoming Live Arcade and PC title RoboBlitz uses Unreal Engine 3. However, based on a Naked Sky press release regarding the game, that situation may not be particularly common. "Next-generation game engines like Unreal Engine 3 use very large textures which make the 50MB requirement essentially impossible to meet with existing technologies," reads the statement; the developer avoided the problem by licensing technology to procedurally generate textures rather than have artists create them ahead of time. This is similar to techniques used in Will Wright's upcoming Spore. Rein also reiterated a common opinion of his that Intel has been a prime factor in the decline of the PC gaming market by way of its widespread adoption of integrated graphics solutions rather than dedicated cards. "Intel is evil, we need to kick its ass," he said. "The difference in price in offering better graphics chips is negligible. You couldn’t buy a meal for that price. We’re talking five bucks.”

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"Him being a programmer is actually the best thing in the world. It means he can actually ..."
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Interview: Epic's Mark Rein

Related Topics – Interview, Unreal Engine 3, Mark Rein

Epic Games is currently developing two high profile shooters, Gears of War (X360) and Unreal Tournament 2007 (PS3, PC), but these days the company is known for a lot more than just its internally developed titles. During last week's Game Developers Conference, Epic held a press briefing that showed off many of the developer tools being used in the company's Unreal Engine 3 middleware. Epic's reputation has been steadily growing in the game industry as more and more developers pick up licenses to its various Unreal engines. The company doesn't show any sign of letting up on its efforts to create more comprehensive tools, judging from what was displayed during the briefing by Epic developer Alan Willard and vice president Mark Rein. Amongst the chief goals of the Unreal Engine 3 toolset is to separate and clarify the duties of programmers, artists and designers. For example, small tasks that generally require programming that is perhaps too complex for a designer to tackle but still fairly trivial for a dedicated programmer can now frequently be handled entirely by the designer with Unreal Kismet. Kismet is a flowchart-like system allowing designers to script out scenarios and events using a sequential visual guide, meaning programmers need not be involved in such tasks. There's what was described as a post-processing shader tool, which operates much like post-processing filter effects used in audio and video editing. The difference is that this applies to a realtime game engine. Shader programmers can create a specific shader plugin, which can then be easily applied and reused using a simple GUI. Such plugins can also be chained together. Unreal Engine 3's level editor displays a realtime fully rendered preview of the level in progress in a window. This allows level designers to quickly see the effects of changes on the fly. The editor will tell designers at what point on the map the next segment of the level will begin to load, and those positions can be modified according to the designer's needs. So, all impressive and useful stuff. Epic also showed off new demos of Gears of War (X360) as well as the PS3 version of Unreal Tournament 2007, both of which of course looked very nice. Later in the week, I had the chance to sit down with Epic's Mark Rein and chat a bit about the company's current activities. Shack: As a middleware provider, Epic is working pretty closely with both Microsoft and Sony on tools for the next generation consoles. Do you have any particular feelings on their approaches to the technology, or just how they're approaching the console market in general? Mark Rein: Well, one thing we've learned from working with both companies is that they both have a clear love of games, they both want to have a great consumer entertainment product, technologically they both have their various strengths, and I guess weaknesses but we don't see a lot of weaknesses in these consoles. I think Microsoft is more about building the total integrated platform and Sony is more about building the open platform. I don't want to pass judgment on which is better. Wait until later to pass judgment on who is more successful. We're just happy that they're both working closely with us, they both have great hardware that makes our engine look really good, and they're both helping us out with optimization and with the hardware. Obviously we have finished hardware on the 360. We're a very lucky group right now to be able to work with such great equipment and great companies. Shack: Do you see any particular advantages towards the open platform or the more centralized route? Is it good that the market supports both? Mark Rein: Well, you know, we've been working with Xbox Live for a long time now, and it works really well. I personally love it, I think they've done a great job with that. We haven't really done much on more of an open platform on the console side; we didn't do any online stuff with PlayStation 2. Our licensees did, but we really didn't, we just did Unreal Tournament and moved on. But, you know, we're very experienced with that kind of environment on the PC side, it's something we're very familiar with. We're very happy with it, very comfortable with it. I don't really see a preference towards one or the other. We have to develop those technologies anyway for our PC products. We have to do Xbox Live for Gears of War since it's on the 360, so we're really happy to support both environments and let the consumers decide what they want. Shack: Speaking of consoles and PCs, there seems to be a shift at Epic towards more console stuff. Gears of War is 360-exclusive and has been a showcase for the system, and UT2007 is being positioned as a showcase PS3 title even if it's not exclusive to that platform. Do you see a move towards consoles in general at your company? Mark Rein: Well, I think what you're really seeing is just the fact that our engine now fits consoles really well. We weren't a great fit--well certainly no fit at all--for the original PlayStation, a decent fit for Xbox, and a real squeeze for PlayStation 2 and GameCube. But for the new systems, the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360, they really fit in well with where we were heading and what we were designing and what our philosophies are this time around, so I'm not sure that the emphasis is really any different than it has been. We've always wanted to be cross-platform. We put a lot of emphasis on Xbox with Unreal Championship 2, and I think we made a great product there. It was kind of late in the life in the engine, whereas this time around the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 are great consoles that fit in well with the engine. So I would say yes, there's definitely emphasis to make sure we're doing well on those platforms, but it's just kind of a natural progression to say, "Yes, these are platforms that work well with our engine." Remember in the past, even with Unreal Engine 2, we had it on PC, Macintosh, Linux, Xbox, PlayStation 2, so we've always considered ourselves a multiplatform company even when multiplatform sometimes meant multiple PC platforms. Now multiplatform means, you know, multiple PC and console platforms. The emphasis has always been to be as multiplatform as we can, and now we're just good at it. Shack: Right. Mark Rein: We're great at it. Shack: There you go. Mark Rein: We're fantastic at it. [laughs] I shouldn't just say we're good at it, we're definitely quite good at it. Turn the page for Mark's thoughts on growing development costs and team sizes, Unreal modding, and Dell. _PAGE_BREAK_ Shack: In terms of next-generation development, you've responded to certain companies' claims that next-generation costs and development time will raise to unmanagable levels, saying that Epic doesn't see as great an increase in team size and budgets. Still, budgets are rising to some extent, team sizes are rising to some extent; how do you see that impacting general development for you and the industry? Mark Rein: We're certainly doing more complex art now. We have the ability to put a lot more polygons on the screen, we have the ability to put a lot more shaders on the screen, we have the ability to make more expressive characters, which means animations have to be much richer. We have the ability to do way more immersive environments, so a lot more energy gets expended there. So what we've done is develop systems within the Unreal engine, like our Unreal Kismet, like our particle system, like our visuals-based material system, to make us much more productive on the other side of the coin: not just on programming but on gameplay, concentrating on being able to make fun game systems as well. So we've reduced a lot of complexity there, we've taken away a lot of the bottleneck that is programmers. We've moved our programmers to be focusing on the much bigger, much more complex, much more effective problems they could work on. Instead of little things like--I like to use the example of a bat flying out of a wall. In the past, those things consumed programmers' time, and they didn't want to do it any more than we wanted them to do it. Now, they don't have to get involved in that kind of stuff. The designers can do that, and it's a much more efficient and streamlined process. The programmers now can work on making better AI, and more complex systems, and expanding our technology. Everybody takes our engine and adds something to it. We're seeing, overall, about a 50% increase in cost, because the efforts we're putting in art are much deeper. But, in my opinion, we're making much better games for that 50%. More than 100% better games. So we should be able to recover that money in terms of sales, in terms of quality and great review scores, that should show up in the games that we're making, because our tools are so good. Shack: Unreal has always been a great platform for modding. How much of the new UE3 toolset will be available to modders, for example stuff like Kismet? Mark Rein: All of it, that's always been the case. Yeah, we're really excited about the possibilities for mod makers. Kismet, facial animation, all that stuff is going to be there for mod makers. We think mod makers, especially because of stuff like Kismet, are going to be able to do much richer, more inventive, more unique kinds of mods than they've ever been able to do in potentially less time with potentially smaller team sizes even. Yes, if they want to do competitive next-generation art, they're going to have to raise the polygon counts and things like that, but mods haven't always been about that. I'm sure we'll see companies rise up to sell people assets and sell people materials and sell people textures that are higher in quality there, so people with cool ideas can buy those things, or borrow or beg or steal or whatever, to put them in their mods. We are absolutely on pins and needles to see what mod makers can do with this technology when we finally ship UT. Shack: Related to that, do you have any opinions on the growing trends of digital distribution or episodic gaming? Mark Rein: Well, distribution is distribution. I don't think I really have anything brilliant to say about it that other people haven't said. Shack: Fair enough. Just to press that slightly further, do you ever see any of the stuff that people knew from the Epic MegaGames days perhaps making it to Xbox Live Arcade? Mark Rein: Oh, you mean like Epic Pinball? Shack: Yeah, and Jazz Jackrabbit, stuff like that. Mark Rein: It wouldn't be possible to bring Jazz, the old original Jazz code which was a lot of assembly code, to Xbox Live Arcade but that doesn't mean that we couldn't bring the characters and ideas and stick them into Unreal Engine 3. We do have a few Unreal Engine 3 casual game projects under way. Not us, personally, but licensees. We're excited about that, and Sony's service that they talked about, so I think you will see a lot of cool stuff brought to Xbox Live Arcade using Unreal Engine 3. It's certainly a lot more efficient than what people were using before. Whether any of that is old content or not, I don't know. I want to see a new Jill of the Jungle game in UE3. I mean, it's our IP, so who knows. Shack: What are your thoughts on AGEIA's PPU hardware? Any thoughts about how that's going to take off? Mark Rein: One thing AGEIA's done that's really smart is that--well, if you've seen our PS3 demo, and this is really version .1, really not a finished performance at all, but we've got some really great cool physics things going on PS3. They've done a really good job of optimizing their library to work well with the SPUs in the Cell processor, which means we're going to be able to get a lot of physics performance out of PlayStation 3. Also on Xbox 360 to some extent, but definitely on PS3 we're going to be able to get a lot of physics capabilities out of that. Which means that, to bring [games using those methods] to a PC, you're probably going to need the hardware. Or you could maybe scale it up even further on the PC, I believe, with their hardware. I think that bodes really well for them if developers go nuts and do really cool physics on PlayStation 3, then if people want to play it to that level on PC, they'll buy the card. So it's a matter of them coming out with great applications, great games that use it. I know Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter will be using the hardware, and Unreal Tournament 2007 will be using the hardware. Not today, but eventually. So I think that's pretty exciting for them, and I think it's going to be pretty cool. Shack: If I could touch on an area you might not be too thrilled to return to, and I might be answering my own question just by asking this, but are you still hearing about your Nintendo Revolution comments a while back? Mark Rein: [laughs] No, no, that died down. I always say stupid stuff. Shack: A little while ago, there were job postings from a major publisher looking for developers to join a project using the Unreal 3 engine, and it listed all three next-generation consoles. It wasn't really clear if they just checked all the boxes on accident, or if there was anything to that. Do you have any comment on that? Mark Rein: I have no idea. I just don't know. I don't see the Nintendo platform as a likely target for Unreal Engine 3. Nintendo has said they're not going after high definition, and we're definitely--the kind of hardware it takes to run Unreal Engine 3 is definitely the kind of hardware it takes to run HD, so I don't really see that as a likely target for us at this point. Shack: In your press briefing, you mentioned that one of your motivations--well, maybe not motivations, but at least benefits--of your partnership with Dell is that Epic will have some more leverage in the PC hardware scene. Mark Rein: I wouldn't call it leverage. [laughs] Dell is one of the biggest companies in the world, and Epic is a small little 70-man shop. Influence, though. To be able to talk to the guy who run Unreal Engine 3 games, to make sure they run on Dell machines, to isolate systems it doesn't run well on and fix bugs, things like that. I think hopefully we'll also have a little influence, be able to say, "Come on guys, think about the gamer, don't put out this system with Intel integrated graphics, or at least offer people the upgrade and explain to them that that's not a great machine for playing games." And I'd love to be able to go to Dell customers and say, "Hey, regardless of your budget, if it's $700, let's find a gaming system that's a great value for $700. If it's $1200, here's a system that would be great for our games. If your budget is XPS600, boy this is great." That's the thing, I really want to be able to educate Dell customers on what are great systems for playing games, push them a little bit to consider the gamer in the design from the outset. Make sure they are upgradable, they have PCI slots or graphics options, make sure that they're remembering that users are going to laptops and if you stick them with Intel integrated and nothing else they're going to get screwed. That's what I want to do. They bought Alienware, and one thing Alienware does is they make a laptop with a button on it, and you can switch it from Intel integrated to Nvidia graphics. It reboots the machine and comes up with the Nvidia graphics chip. I don't know if that's necessary or not, I've always thought those Nvidia chips were pretty good at power management, but clearly they wouldn't do it if they didn't think it was. Maybe we could convince Dell now to use that technology, to get people more excited about PC games. Shack: Just throwing in your two cents. Mark Rein: Exactly. And they're the leader in the business, so where they go, others will follow. Shack: Speaking of Dell's Alienware purchase, do you have any thoughts about that from the strategic perspective? Mark Rein: I don't really know that much about it. Obviously, they announced it here [at Epic's press briefing], so I don't really--I just think it's good. [laughs] Alienware is also a great company. We, to be honest, made a choice between Dell and Alienware when it came down to who we're going to work with on UT2007, and the reason for Dell was the market reach they have and the amount of customers that they have, and the systems that they make. Alienware makes great machines, and if it weren't for market size and marketing strength as a consideration, we could easily have chosen them just as well. So to me it's exciting that the two companies are at least aligned. Right now Dell doesn't serve AMD customers, and Alienware makes great systems for gaming, so I think it's great that a company like Alienware has the strength of being owned by a corporate entity like Dell. We know they're going to grow, so AMD will continue to have a great hold in gamer PCs without being at the expense of Dell. Now Dell has a strategic reason for Alienware to succeed! So that's great, that's great. Shack: Well, thanks for your time, it's been good talking with you.

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"if my game don't look like that I will sue for false advertising jk"
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Mark Rein Interview

Related Topics – Interview, Games: PC, Mark Rein

Computer & Video Games has a new interview with Epic's Mark Rein, asking him about a wide variety of topics including the Unreal Engine, UT2007 and Gears of War.

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"Well, I'm not a fan, but he says less pure RETARDED shit than Randy Pitchford, and he seems to ..."
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Mark Rein Interview

Related Topics – Interview, Games: PC, Mark Rein

Computer & Video Games is the latest site with a Mark Rein interview, transcribing their chat with him during E3 about the Unreal Engine.

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"He may still be the "graphics == gameplay" guy, but on these interviews he actually sounds honest."
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Mark Rein Interview

The latest Daily Dementia is now available, with Mark Rein of Epic making an appearance on the show. Rein talks about Unreal Engine 3, E3 plans and a couple of other topics.

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"I think it wanted a 166 Mhz machine right ? Man, as disappointed as I was with somethings about ..."
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