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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.

"We don't have a 3DS, so there's no way for us to verify that," Rein said, "but everything we've been led to believe is that it's below our min-spec. You couldn't do a game that looks like [Epic Citadel] on it, for example."

Rein confirmed that Epic is currently not prepping a version of Unreal Engine for other developers to use with the device. "Like I said, we really don't know enough about it to make a formal comment, but I think if they considered that our engine would be good on it, they would have probably talked to us about it."

Although the comments calculate to little more than "guesstimations" at this time, we anticipate Epic wants to push its engine to as many platforms as possible. Recently, Epic announced plans for an iOS-exclusive title--dubbed Project Sword--utilizing a mobile version of its Unreal Engine 3 technology. Epic Citadel--a free tech demo for the engine on iOS devices--has already been downloaded over one million times since release.

According to Rein, things could change--in terms of the Unreal Engine on the 3DS--when Epic gets its hands on Nintendo's new hardware.

Currently, Epic Games is developing Gears of War 3. For the lowdown, make sure to read about the Xbox 360-exclusive's upcoming beta and our recent preview of the game.

From The Chatty

  • reply
    October 7, 2010 9:28 AM

    But the question is do you want high res textures or 3D without glasses. I think Nintendo has the trump card here.

    • reply
      October 7, 2010 1:14 PM

      And the answer is: Yes!

      There's no reason you should have to choose between the two. I can see having to trade complex shaders for performance, but decent resolution textures are not where your huge performance hit is.

      • reply
        October 7, 2010 5:36 PM

        The reason you might have to choose between the two is cost. I think that's pretty easy to see as a potential problem.

        And on the contrary complex shaders are easily handled by hardware shaders where as texture resolution normally is where a lot of performance is lost as it requires pure gpu grunt.

        • reply
          October 7, 2010 9:07 PM

          That really depends on how complex a shader, and what you are trying to do. Realtime procedural texturing is great fun, but unless your GPU is ridiculously fast and your memory bizarrely constrained, it's not a popular choice.

          I've seen a lot of games that played well with absurdly high quality textures, but fell over pathetically on complex shaders. Shaders tend to be the nastiest hit in performance on modern GPUs, not texture resolution.

          Shaders tend to be per-pixel sampled or worse (multiple samples, translucency and/or overdraw).

          Portable GPUs have some very odd constraints, and seem to trail much further behind the cutting edge than you'd expect for game devices. Of course, laptops have tended to suck as well. It'll be interesting if the low end finally pulls ahead of consoles next year, though...