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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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BlackSite: Area 51 Was 'So Fucked Up' Says Director

Speaking on the development of Midway Austin's recently-released FPS BlackSite: Area 51 (PC, PS3, X360), creative director and industry veteran Harvey Smith described the entire project as "so fucked up."

Smith elaborated on the difficulties he and his team faced during a presentation at the 2007 Montreal International Game Summit, reports Game|Life. Read more »

"the part of Halo PC that Bungie made wasn't bad. The part of Halo PC that Gearbox made was a ..."
- the archvile    See all 100 comments

Epic's Motion to Dismiss SK Lawsuit Denied

The motion filed by Epic Games in attempt to dismiss Silicon Knight's lawsuit against the company has been denied, reports GameDaily BIZ. Barring an out-of-court settlement between the two companies, the case will now process to trial, though no date has been set. "Epic had asked for the entire case to be dismissed. Judge Dever denied this request, which is not unusual," explained Epic VP Mark Rein. "Often these requests are denied. It is important to note that this was not a decision on the merits of Silicon Knights' claims. We are confident that the evidence will show Silicon Knights breached its license with Epic Games and violated our copyrights and trade secrets." Dever's decision comes after Silicon Knights filed a rebuttal against Epic's motion to dismiss. "Epic’'s Motion to dismiss should be denied in its entirety, Epic should be ordered to answer the Complaint, and this case should proceed to discovery and trial," it read. Charges filed against Epic in the lawsuit, which centers around Silicon Knights' experience with Epic's Unreal Engine 3 while developing Too Human (X360), include Fraud, Negligent Misrepresentation, and Breach of Contract. Epic maintains that all of the issues Silicon Knights encountered while using its technology are covered under the Unreal Engine 3 License Agreement.

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"Whatever engine SK developed is just a modified version of UE3. Now they're just looking for the ..."
- lyme    See all 10 comments

THQ Delays Three Titles, Lowers Fiscal Forecast

Related Topics – THQ, Delay, Unreal Engine 3

Topping off a day of delays, THQ announced it will be pushing three of its fourth quarter fiscal year 2008 titles into fiscal year 2009, which begins April 1, 2008. Sandblast Games' Destroy All Humans!: Path of the Furon (PS3, X360), Kaos Studio' PlayStation 3 version of Frontlines: Fuel of War (PC, PS3, X360), and Blue Tongue's DS version and Helixe's Wii version of de Blob (Wii, NDS) will now be released sometime after the start of the new fiscal year. Note that only the PlayStation 3 version of Frontlines: Fuel of War has been delayed, as the Xbox 360 and PC versions of the game are still on target for an early 2008 release, along with the previously confirmed Xbox 360 demo of the game coming in December. "We still plan to ship the Xbox 360 and PC versions of Frontlines in the March quarter, as we are pleased with the quality on these platforms and believe this is the best launch window for the game," said THQ CEO Brian Farrell in a conference call following today's revised financial forecast. "We plan to release a demo of Frontlines in early December and expect it to be well received by both consumers and the game press. Farrell attributed both the Destroy All Humans! and Frontlines delays to trouble with using the Unreal Engine 3 on with the PlayStation 3, a problem many developers, including engine-creator Epic itself, have cited. Wii and DS title de Blob was mainly delayed to avoid being lost in the pre-holiday retail rush. "Like many of our competitors, we've had challenges with PS3 cross-platform development on the Unreal Engine," Farrell said in the conference call. Due to the poor performance of Paradigm Entertainment's Stuntman: Ignition (PS2, PS3, PSP, X360) and Juice Games' Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights (PC, PS2, PS3, PSP, NDS, X360), the company lowered its sales estimates for the second and third fiscal quarters. Combined with the lowered fourth quarter estimates from the delays, this brings the company's fiscal year estimate down to $1.06 billion. "While we have shipped more than 1 million units worldwide on each of these titles, this is significantly below our internal forecast," Farrell said in reference to Stuntman and Juiced sales during the conference call. "In both cases we did not receive our required game play mechanic and overall product quality targets. Quality matters and we missed the mark."

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"All their games coming suck, im glad so much other stuff is available"
- lsc78    See all 10 comments

Silicon Knights, Epic Continue Legal Sparring

Silicon Knights has responded to Epic Games' rebuttal and motion to dismiss the Canadian developer's lawsuit regarding its grievances with the Unreal Engine 3 during the development of Too Human (X360). Filed by Silicon Knights on September 7, the 29-page document specifically addresses Epic's attempt to get the case thrown out and its claims that the company has nothing to gain if it delivers lacking technology to licensees. "For Epic to attempt to dispute the merit of those allegations [of the original suit] under the auspices of a motion to dismiss is improper," it reads, according to Next-Gen.biz. "Therefore, EpicÂ’s Motion to dismiss should be denied in its entirety, Epic should be ordered to answer the Complaint, and this case should proceed to discovery and trial. "The profits Epic assured for itself by having Gears of War as the marquee title for the Xbox 360 dwarf any gain Epic would receive from Silicon Knights purchasing a subsequent licenses for the Engine," it continues. Silicon Knights has accused Epic of holding back Unreal Engine 3 optimizations and features until after Epic's Gears of War was released, as to guarantee it would be among the most technically impressive, and therefore best selling, titles on the platform at the time. As part of its lawsuit--the allegations of which include Fraud, Negligent Misrepresentation, and Breach of Contract--Silicon Knights has demanded that Epic hand over all of its profits from Gears of War. In its initial response, Epic stressed the significance of Silicon Knights founder Denis Dyack signing the Unreal Engine 3 License Agreement, which states that Epic "[does] not include any warranty that (i) the functions performed by the Unreal Engine... will meet [Silicon Knights'] requirements, nor (ii) that the operations of the Unreal Engine... will be bug free or error free in all circumstances, nor (iii) that any defects in the Unreal Engine... can or will be corrected." In the days following the the lawsuit's original filing, Shacknews polled multiple developers with Unreal Engine experience. Responses ranged from positive to negative, though none claimed to experience problems as severe as those of Silicon Knights.

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"Not to mention, unlike SK, Irrational already had Unreal engine experience with SWAT 4 (was ..."
- Borzoi    See all 39 comments

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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Epic Acquires Majority Stake in Painkiller and Gears of War PC Developer People Can Fly

Related Topics – Epic Games, Unreal Engine 3

In a surprising move, Epic Games today announced it had acquired a majority interest in Poland-based studio People Can Fly, the creator of the Painkiller series and recent developer of the Gears of War PC port. The deal apparently came about when People Can Fly was evaluating Epic's Unreal Engine 3 for a new project. Epic then hired the developer for Gears of War PC, and began working with them on a new IP. "PCF showed us their early prototypes within only a few weeks and we were totally blown away," said Epic vice president Mark Rein. "The quality of their work was extremely high, and knew we had to find a way to work more closely with them in the future." "Their work was outstanding," added Epic president Dr. Michael Capps. "The multiplayer levels they created for Gears PC look as good or better than the original. How could we not jump at the opportunity to work together on a long-term basis?"

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"cutscenes and voice acting was done by a different team and we didn't like them either:) "
- buttawippo    See all 17 comments

GameSpy Announces PC-to-PS3 Multiplayer, Epic Notes UT3 Support Undecided

Related Topics – Epic Games, Unreal Engine 3

Unreal Engine 3 developers wishing to allow cross-platform multiplayer between PC and PlayStation 3 users now have a streamlined solution to integreate the feature. Multiplayer technology provider GameSpy today announced it has joined Epic's Integrated Partners Program for UE3, making the features available to licensees. "GameSpy is committed to working together with Epic to address a broad range of needs for the connected gamer, including multiplayer matchmaking, in-game and out-of-game messaging, persistent player communities, and competition systems," said Jamie Berger of GameSpy parent IGN Entertainment. Following the announcement, Epic Games confirmed to Shacknews that GameSpy's announcement of cross-platform play is available to licensees of both Unreal Engine 3 and GameSpy's technology, but noted Epic has not yet decided whether it will feature cross-platform multiplayer in its own Unreal Tournament 3.

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"I use Qtracker and like it. Can need a bit of work for filters and such if they aren't built ..."
- fr3akyc    See all 32 comments

id's Hollenshead on Licensing id Tech 5

With id Software slowly unveiling more of its internal projects, including the Mad Max-esque Rage and the id Tech 5 engine that powers it, the studio that once led the PC engine licensing game is sending a clear message that it intends a return to form. As part of a longer discussion at QuakeCon, the rest of which will be published on Shacknews in the coming days, I spoke with id Software CEO Todd Hollenshead about his company's revitalized push into the high-end tech licensing world--a world most would agree is currently largely occupied by Epic and its widely-licensed Unreal Engine 3. The CEO spoke on the flexibility of the technology, id's changing attitude towards developer support and tools, when the engine will be ready--and he even painted a striking contrast to rival Epic, which has been in the news lately for licensing-related matters. Gentlemen, start your engines
Hollenshead was quick to note that id Tech 5 isn't quite ready for distribution. John Carmack expects the engine to be in a state deliverable to developers by the end of the year. "We definitely feel there's a lot of flexibility in the technology, probably more flexibility than maybe any engine that we've ever done just in terms of style of gameplay decisions," said Hollenshead. "As John said, [Rage] is a 60 hertz game. A technology licensee could make a game that looks entirely different in 30 hertz, and have twice the detail in half the framerate. It's entirely possible that within months after we release Rage that from a purely visible standpoint, a licensee could come out with a game that looks twice as good. It's just a gameplay decision. We made the decision for fast action that we're going to keep the framerate up fast on multiple platforms." Hollenshead pointed out that the bar being set at 60 frames per second also opens up possibilities for significantly scalable PC games, particularly PC-only games with no multiplatform siblings with which to be compared. Even without dropping visual fidelity, performance could be improved by retargeting the framerate at 30 fps, and improved further by taking visual hits. You wanna take this outside? I suggested that, while id employees have frequently spoken of a desire to branch out to other gameplay design avenues, Rage's open, sun-drenched, post-apocalyptic wasteland might also serve the convenient secondary purpose of convincing potential licensees that id's tech isn't just about corridors. "If I sat down and said, 'John is working on the rendering engine, and it's awesome, and you'll be able to do amazingly high detail on indoor environments,' you'd be like, 'Well, I'd like to see it, but I can believe what you're telling me,'" replied Hollenshead. "Now, if I told you we were going to do that stuff with vast terrain rendering, and I didn't show it to you, I think there would be more skepticism about it. What we tried to do, especially at the WWDC thing, was to show things that would be surprising." (Notoriously, old guard PC studio id unveiled its ambitious id Tech 5 engine, and its more powerful iteration of John Carmack's MegaTexture technology, at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference.) "At any time [in Rage] you can get out of your car, and look around, and one of the artists may have carved his initials in the back of a rock," he pointed out. "They can do that literally at no cost to performance or stability of the game." John Carmack does not deal with tools
In an attempt to get with the times, id plans to distance itself from its reputation for rudimentary development tools, which have traditionally been a byproduct of Carmack's time schedule. "One of the complaints in the past about id technology has been that the tools weren't as robust as people would like," admitted Hollenshead. "Some of the tools are just a function of John's prioritization of his time. When he was touching all code in the engine, he was working on tools as well, and he would say, "I can spend a month of my time working on tools that save the artists time, or I can work on something that makes the game look more glorious, and have the artists devote more man-hours and frustration with the tools." That was just a decision that John made within id." Now, id has hired full-time tools programmers working with artists and designers to produce useful development aids, and the company has taken on support staff to serve as liaisons to licensees. The circumstances are Epic When asked about id's plans for licensing as compared to other major players, Hollenshead was direct. "In terms of an engine licensing philosophy--and you can read this anywhere, I'm not going secondhand here--Epic has a philosophy to license to everyone they can," he pointed out. "That will not be our strategy. We will go with a lower number of what we think are high-value licensees and games, and try to service those, and not overcast our resources in providing support." id will have an internal review process for determining what games and developers will be worth supporting. Hollenshead recalled past licensing successes as historical vindication for such a strategy: "If you look at Quake as a reference point, we would rather have Call of Duty, Medal of Honor, and Half-Life as our licensees than thirty games nobody remembers." Check back on Shacknews early next week for an interview with Hollenshead and lead designer Tim Willits on the company's internal project Rage (PC, PS3, X360).

Get the Flash Player to see this player. Download this footage in HD from FileShack.

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"ID is not kidding around, this engine looks unbelievable! wowzers"
- bothewhite    See all 71 comments

Epic Strikes Back Against Silicon Knights (Updated)

Update: Legal documents issued by Epic's attorneys at the firm of Hunton & Williams amount to a bristling rebuttal of Silicon Knights' original motion. "Silicon Knights wants to take Epic's Licensed Technology, pay nothing for it, and use it any way it pleases," the counter-motion reads. "Having exploited Epic's intellectual property to its advantage, Silicon Knights now seeks to renege on its payment obligations under the License Agreement. It is Silicon Knights, not Epic, that has engaged in deceit, infringement of Epic's intellectual property rights, breach of contract, and unfair business practices." Responding directly to the point that Epic had neglected its licensees in favor of working on its own Unreal Engine 3-powered title Gears of War (PC, X360), the document reads, "By employing its synergistic model [of development], as it has always done, Epic ensures that its engines are enhanced by the application of knowledge gleaned from its actual game development." The document also asserts that Silicon Knights knew and agreed to the idea that the Unreal Engine 3 was a work-in-progress, and that it "may not meet its requirements and may not be modified [by Epic] to meet them." Epic mentions that Silicon Knights actually asked for a warranty of its use of the engine, but that Epic rejected its proposal, after which Silicon accepted its rejection and signed anyway. Some statements clarify specific points of the original motion, such as Silicon's claim that Epic's Tim Sweeney assured SK that the Unreal Engine 3 would run at 30 frames per second with more than 30 characters on screen. Epic now says the e-mail in question only gave Epic's "target" for the hardware, and that Silicon Knights was cognizant of the difference at the time. To wit, every count of Silicon Knights' motion was refuted by Epic, the major point being that Silicon Knights head Denis Dyack knowingly signed the Unreal Engine 3 License Agreement, which states that Epic "[does] not include any warranty that (i) the functions performed by the Unreal Engine... will meet [Silicon Knights'] requirements, nor (ii) that the operations of the Unreal Engine... will be bug free or error free in all circumstances, nor (iii) that any defects in the Unreal Engine... can or will be corrected." Original story: Unreal Engine 3 licenser Epic has filed a motion to dismiss the case brought on by licensee and Too-Human developer Silicon Knights regarding the "extensive problems" with Epic's engine, according to reports. Epic has also taken a step further and filed a counterclaim against Silicon Knights. Shacknews spoke with other developers following Silicon Knights' complaint and found that the company was not alone in having issues with the Unreal Engine 3. Expect more on this story as it develops.

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"Gee I guess they need to cancel ut3 because it doesn't work on the ps3"
- DDS    See all 39 comments

News Bytes

I don't think anyone was really expecting that Grand Theft Auto IV delay, but you gotta give the Activision executives credit for trying to slip that Metallica thing by us when we were supposed to be looking the other way. Oh, and just as Maarten foretold last week, zombies totally invaded QuakeCon. Meanwhile in brief-land, we have news of downloadable demos and a Blast Factor add-on for PS3, a Fatal Inertia demo on Xbox Live, a new vice president of production at Secret Level, Insomniac sharing PS3 development tips, and the new Fallout 3 (PC, PS3, X360) site.

  • Demos, Blast Factor add-on infect PS3

    An add-on for Bluepoint Games' downloadable arcade shooter Blast Factor arrived in the PlayStation 3's online PlayStation Store today. Dubbed Advanced Research, the expansion adds 11 enemies, seven specimens, seven bosses, and seven music tracks to the game for $4.99. Also added to the online store were demos of Starbreeze's comic-inspired first person shooter The Darkness and Ubisoft Paris and Red Storm Entertainment's tactical military FPS Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2.
  • Fatal Intertia demo slays Xbox Live

    A demo of Koei Canada's futuristic racer Fatal Inertia hit Xbox Live Marketplace. Powered by Epic's Unreal Engine 3, the game is slated to hit arrive in stores this September.
  • Stubbington goes public with Secret

    [pc] [ps2] [ps3] [xbox360] [wii] [ds] [psp] [gba]
    Former EA executive producer and Midway VP Darrin Stubbington has been named vice president of production at Sega's Secret Level studio. He will now manage the company's development teams, specifically those working on the upcoming Iron Man and Golden Axe.
  • Insomniac publishes PS3 development tips

    Resistance: Fall of Man (PS3) and Ratchet & Clank Future (PS3) developer Insomniac Games unveiled a new portion of its official website. Titled R&D, it focuses on the technical details of the company's PlayStation 3 efforts, such as dynamic SPU code and VNC configuration. "The R&D page on the Insomniac website is meant to share knowledge with fellow studios about PS3 development while giving our fans a detailed look into how we make our games," explained Insomniac CEO and founder Ted Price. "This page will also help explain our production philosophies."
  • New Fallout 3 site, same old release date

    [pc] [ps3] [xbox360]
    Bethesda relaunched its official site for Fallout 3 (PC, PS3, X360), complete with a diary entry from executive producer Todd Howard and new wallpaper. Sadly, the game is still slated to release in the fall of 2008 and not a moment sooner.

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"i wish there was a way to buy some of the stuff on the japanese store"
- Break    See all 7 comments

News Bytes: Zombies Invade QuakeCon

Today's delicious roundup of news bytes includes Left 4 Dead at QuakeCon, an update for City of Heroes, new DLC on the Xbox Live Marketplace, games at Comic-Con, word on the Oddworld Stranger's Wrath (Xbox) soundtrack, and a status update for Factor 5's Lair (PS3). On the subject of Comic-Con, our own Chris Remo will be moderating a panel about episodic gaming with Penny Arcade, Telltale Games, and Hothead Games. Titled "Episodic Games and Comics--Made for Each Other," it begins Thursday at 11:30 AM in room 1AB and lasts for an hour. Telltale will be announcing new details on the recently announced Sam & Max Season Two (PC), so if you happen to be at the event, this might be worthy of your time.

"Lots of non-id FPs games have been shown at Quakecon. It seems like the de facto place to show ..."
- jet-poop    See all 18 comments

ShackCast Episode 2: Silicon Knights vs. Epic

In our second ShackCast, we discuss Silicon Knights' recent lawsuit against Epic Games regarding Unreal Engine 3, and provide even more behind-the-scenes details on the situation from developer sources. We also discuss this week's Metal Gear Solid 4 (PS3) gameplay video, Chris Faylor gives some impressions of Atlus's Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 (PS2) and Mistwalker's Lost Odyssey (X360). We've got discussion of the roleplaying game genre as well as video game trailers and marketing in games such as Irrational's BioShock (PC, X360) and BioWare's Mass Effect (X360). Finally, we mention some of the games out this week and next, accompanied by our opinions of several of them. Play now, download, access it through iTunes (should update momentarily), subscribe to the RSS feed, or check out the full breakdown. Here's this week's breakdown: 0:00:00: It's a song! 0:01:05: Come to my Comic-Con panel! (story) 0:01:32: Silicon Knights vs. Epic Games (story, followup story) 0:10:20: Metal Gear Solid 4: We discuss MGS4, Faylor discusses balls (video) 0:20:39: Persona 3: Faylor has impressions of Atlus' recently delayed PS2 RPG 0:31:38: Marketing and trailers for Mass Effect and BioShock: what's the deal? 0:39:40: Does Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s rock our hearts? Kind of 0:43:39: Lost Odyssey for Xbox 360, and discussion of RPGs 0:58:23: Imminent releases: Mario Strikers, D&D Tactics, Crazy Taxi PSP 0:65:38: Farewell, music, and outtakes

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"I really like the streaming "Play Now" thing you guys have. Thanks RAYMO."
- soggybagel    See all 31 comments

Developers on Unreal Engine 3 and the Silicon Knights Lawsuit

Last week the internet--or at least the video game-related parts of it--exploded when Epic Games quietly announced that it had been sued by developer Silicon Knights. That quiet announcement quickly turned into a frenzy as the full text of the lawsuit surfaced. To recap, the Too Human developer claimed Epic had failed to deliver versions of the licensed Unreal Engine 3 by its contractual deadline, resulting in demonstrable damage to the reputation of Silicon Knights and Too Human. After the news broke, Shacknews contacted several developers with personal Unreal Engine experience. The developers spoke on topics such as their reactions to the lawsuit, their studios' track records with the tech, and their own opinions on Epic's level of support. Opinions ranged from positive to negative, though negative responses tended not to hold Epic to the same level of fault as does Silicon Knights' suit. Understandably, some respondents chose to remain anonymous, though Shacknews vouches for their authenticity. "UE3 helped me get my shit done." Josh Jeffcoat, a former Gearbox Software level designer who worked with Unreal Engine 3, admitted that during his tenure at Gearbox--which, notably, ended last May--the package had its issues, but that none of them kept his team from exploiting the engine to great effect. Significantly to this lawsuit, he did not feel Epic deliberately acted outside of developers' interests. "UE3 isn't perfect by any means, but I don't feel Epic misrepresented it in any way when we licensed it," said Jeffcoat. "It's not that UE3 is the best at any one thing it does, because it's not. It's just better at more of them than anything else, and the ten-plus years of maturity it's been through has yielded a better-than-average art and design pipeline. I've heard plenty of tirades and I've given a few of them myself, but at the end of the day, UE3 helped me get my shit done. And it did a better job than any tool set I'd used before." Jeffcoat also commented more directly on the situation at hand. "I am unable to account for the engine's current status, but as I left, I was aware of several of UE3's limitations--the lighting model is dog slow for anything dynamic, the streaming support has issues; I believe SK mentioned these--but most of these were apparent from the day we first got the code, and we designed accordingly," he explained. "The almost gratuitous level of flexibility in other areas allowed us to accomplish a great deal, even without additional code." "It just wasn't the best releationship for us."
Independent Postal series developer Running With Scissors has worked with Epic engines in its past games, but elected not to licensed UE3 for Postal III. Product manager Mike Jaret cited his company's experience with the licensor as the reasoning for the change. "Epic does make a great product and while I don't hold anything against Epic personally, we are a small indie developer and we are at the mercy of the licensor," said Jaret. "It just wasn't the best relationship for us." Running With Scissors has licensed Valve's Source engine for its upcoming Postal III. "Epic was very late in delivering key features." A programmer at a major developer working with Unreal Engine 3 corroborated Silicon Knights' claims that important parts of the engine came to developers late, which caused problems for his team. However, he also countered Silicon Knights' claims that Epic held back features deliberately, pointing out his belief that Epic was testing and polishing the features by implementing them into a real-world setting in its own game. The source also claimed that Epic was honest about its doings. "It is true that Epic was very late in delivering key features to UE3 during the development of Gears of War," he said. "They had promised one of the most important feature of UE3, the multi-threaded renderer, many many months before it was finally delivered. Since the key to having fast performances on the Xbox 360 is multi-threading, it made the engine somewhat subpar if you wanted to run your game with good graphics on a console." On Epic's tardiness: "I can understand why some features were delivered late to the UE3 licensees. Some of them were very complex while others would cause a ton of headaches to licencees if they were unstable or unfinished. This was also the reason why GoW had some UE3 features implemented and tested first before they were introduced to the official codebase. There is no better way to know if your stuff works. The Epic programmers were always upfront about the situation and never hid themselves or stopped answering questions to licensees." On his team's experiences: "In our case, we ended up having to choose between shipping late or implementing the missing features ourselves. We chose the latter, because we had the talent and the resources to do so, but it did add many more programmers--and work hours--than what we had initially planned. It also greatly soured the reputation of UE3 within [our company], a reputation that was already not very high because of the high licensing cost of UE3." "We have found Epic to be an extraordinary partner"
Some developers claimed to have had no rocky roads with Epic or its tech, and were happy to come on the record to say so. Independent studio Chair Entertainment Group, currently working on the Xbox Live Arcade game Undertow and the multi-medium property Empire, uses UE3 for all its projects. Chair's Laura Heeb Mustard commented on the situation. "We have been following the news of this lawsuit since it broke," Heeb responded last week. "Our team has been working with Unreal technology for several years and have been using Unreal Engine 3 exclusively for the past two years. We have found Epic to be an extraordinary partner and the UE3 engine to be exceptional. Epic has always been very supportive of our efforts and their technology has been instrumental in allowing our company to develop high quality products." Lending support to SK--with a caveat One developer source with firsthand knowledge of Unreal Engine 3 development, who preferred not be quoted directly, corroborated allegations from Silicon Knights that certain features were late in being delivered to licensees. He also pointed to several other studios of varying levels of experience--which he requested be kept nameless--which had seen trouble with the engine. However, the source noted his belief that these difficulties were not due to intentionally malicious action on the part of Epic, but rather a partial byproduct of Epic's own workforce being divided between development on the engine and its own internal projects. Furthermore, the developer lent support to Silicon Knights' allegations that the PlayStation 3 version of UE3 has under-delivered in terms of Epic's original claims, with the significant divergence between Xbox 360 and PS3 hardware contributing to the issue. Such concerns may have prompted Sony's recent announcement of an agreement with Epic to optimize UE3 for PS3 development. Finally, the source speculated that a significant factor behind Silicon Knights' legal action may be the expense the studio has put into its own modifications of Unreal Engine 3--in most situations, such modifications would remain with the owner of the engine itself, but if Silicon Knights performed significant alterations for what it calls "The Silicon Knights Engine," it likely wants to keep them in-house. Shacknews spoke with a number of other developers who declined to go on the record, some of whom had additional negative experiences and some of whom simply did not wish to comment on the situation.

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"not to troll or anything, but what ive seen from recent unreal engine games the engine itself ..."
- Rageanitus    See all 97 comments

Silicon Knights Serves Epic Games With Lawsuit, Claims Unreal Engine 3 Negligence (Updated)

(Updated/reorganized) Silicon Knights, developer of upcoming Microsoft-published Xbox 360 action game Too Human, has sued Epic Games due to grievances with Epic's handling of its widely-licensed Unreal Engine 3. News of the suit came from Epic Games, which notified the press of the legal action. Silicon Knights issued a press release, and the full lawsuit was made available by San Francisco-based law firm Krieg, Keller, Sloan, Reilley & Roman LLP. Microsoft has claimed a lack of involvement in the suit. The thrust of the complaint seems centered around E3 2006, where Too Human was demonstrated and subsequently criticized for, as the lawsuit describes, "technical problems and generally unpolished appearance." Silicon claims that Epic withheld a "very useable version" of the Xbox 360 engine for its own purposes, only delivering a fully functional version of the software in November of that year--roughly eight months past the original March 2006 deadline. Silicon seeks several concessions from their licensor, including a negation of the original licensing agreement, the unrestricted legal right to alter the engine, and, most significantly, forfiture of all profits gained through sales of Epic's Gears of War to Silicon Knights in the form of awarded damages. Reads the lengthy lawsuit: "The damage to Silicon Knights caused by Epic's misconduct was manifest, because E3 attendees were able to compare Too Human with another game running ostensibly the same game engine, Gears of War, with vastly superior results." Earlier this year, rumors surfaced that Silicon Knights had dropped Unreal Engine 3 and switched to a new development solution, but company founder Denis Dyack quickly denied the reports. According to the suit, it now appears that the company has indeed developed its own engine, dubbed "The Silicon Knights Engine," which is described as an "enhanced" version of Epic's engine. The suit alleges that "actions and the consequent increasing delay and cost of development of Silicon Knights' own game caused by the unworkable Engine" lead to the decision. The document also notes that Epic's code will be entirely dropped from the game following Too Human's release. In summary, the charges levied against Epic by Silicon Knights include Fraud, Negligent Misrepresentation, and Breach of Contract. "This morning we were served with a lawsuit by Silicon Knights," said Epic VP Mark Rein in a statement. "We believe the claims against us are unfounded and without merit and we intend to fully defend against them." Rein declined to comment in greater depth about the specific allegations contained in Silicon Knights' suit. "We'd love to tell you more about it but unfortunately our lawyers want us to save our comments for the courthouse so we're going to do our best to comply with their wishes," he added. Dyack issued a short comment to the press, expressing reluctance in moving the issue to the courtroom, but maintaining his company's position. "Our strong preference is to focus on making games, not be in court," he said. "Unfortunately though, as explained in our lawsuit, we have had extensive problems with the Unreal Engine 3 that Epic has been unwilling or unable to rectify. For more than a year, we have been trying to reach an agreement with Epic to resolve these issues without resorting to litigation, but were unable to come to reasonable terms with Epic. We remain hopeful, however, that we can reach a reasonable business resolution with Epic at some point." Other third party licensees are also mentioned in the suit, with Silicon claiming other developers were also forced to abandon the engine as they had. The company also charges that Epic failed to deliver on time a version of their engine for use in development of a PlayStation 3 game. "Final development kits for that console were released in and around mid-August, 2006, making the functional Engine due to Silicon Knights in February, 2007. Silicon Knights has received no such Engine from Epic," the complaint reads. When reached for comment, a Microsoft representative stated, "Microsoft is not involved in or a party to this litigation and therefore has no comment."

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" Still, I'm surprised that people don't think about the fact that gears IS a separate game. It ..."
- puffin6    See all 127 comments