Epic releases 'Epic Citadel' Unreal Engine demo in Flash

You can now have a go on Epic's Flash-based browser version of Unreal Engine 3, as its Epic Citadel is now up and running in Flash for everyone to try. Despite the added overheads, the Flash UE3 only suffers around a 30% performance hit.

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In 2010, Epic Games released the Epic Citadel tech demo to show off what the Unreal Engine could do on an iPhone. Now, it's re-released that same demo running in a web browser on Flash 11, for you to have a look yourself. Epic also showed off Unreal Tournament 3 and Dungeon Defenders running in Flash, with only a moderate performance hit.

Head on over to the Unreal Engine site to visit Epic Citadel. You may need to install the test version of Flash Player 11.2, if you don't have it already.

"For the same piece of content there is definitely a penalty on Flash in terms of CPU performance," Epic's Mark Rein told our roving reporter Andrew at GDC, but the Flash version of Unreal Engine 3 still runs around 70% as fast as the regular. Given how much more portable and accessible it is--the Flash Dungeon Defenders only has a 15MB initial download--it's a reasonable hit, and Rein noted he can still run DD on his lowly Macbook Air.

Epic again showed the Unreal Tournament 3 Flash demo it used to unveil Flash support, but has no plans to release it. However, Rein told us, "We want to do the Samaritan demo on Flash."

Epic Citadel isn't simply a fancy display of something Epic might do--Flash is now an official supported platform of Unreal Engine, thanks to Flash 11's GPU-accelerated 3D. It should almost certainly be a standard feature of Unreal Engine 4, which Epic plans to unveil this year.

As befits the Game Developers Conference, Epic also whipped together a trailer showing off the various shiny features the Unreal Engine 3 has to offer developers in 2012:

From The Chatty

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    March 9, 2012 4:15 PM

    Alice O'Connor posted a new article, Epic releases 'Epic Citadel' Unreal Engine demo in Flash.

    You can now have a go on Epic's Flash-based browser version of Unreal Engine 3, as its Epic Citadel is now up and running in Flash for everyone to try. Despite the added overheads, the Flash UE3 only suffers around a 30% performance hit.

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      March 9, 2012 4:21 PM

      Wouldn't something like this totally kill a service/tech like OnLive?

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        March 9, 2012 4:32 PM

        No, this is dependent on your local GPU. The only benefit of this tech is avoiding the initial install of a game. But with a 30% performance loss I don't think its worth it. Having said that, this will hopefully bring more games to more people which is always a good thing.

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          March 9, 2012 7:15 PM

          Right, but from a user POV, I am running a remote game using my local interface, which is what OnLive provides.

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            March 10, 2012 8:32 AM

            It is dependent upon having a good video card, which OnLive doesn't. This affects OnLive exactly as much as having a boxed version of Unreal 3 would.

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            March 10, 2012 1:06 PM

            That's not the point of OnLive, that just comes with it. The benefit of Onlive is not needing to have a computer capable of running the games it offers. It doesn't just host the game files as you say, it runs the game itself and just streams the video feed to you. it is entirely different from what this article is referring to.

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              March 10, 2012 8:03 PM

              Oops, I see that now - my bad.

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          March 10, 2012 1:25 AM

          Uh, what is the OnLive performance loss?

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        March 10, 2012 3:48 AM

        Not at all. OnLive has quite a few games that look better than this demo (albeit, with compression artifacts depending on your connection speed).

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      March 9, 2012 4:57 PM

      It's not that interesting, really.

      Unity 3.5 can export to Flash already. http://unity3d.com/#flash

      I hope Unity takes over the worrrrrld.

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        March 10, 2012 1:10 PM

        Right, but that's not built into Flash. You still need to have the Unity files on your computer and need to install a separate plugin for Flash to get Unity to work - it's not just a simple matter of opening a web page and playing like any other flash game. UE3 will work with Flash 11 right off the bat, no extra installs needed. Playing this will be like playing any other flash game; entirely browser based with nothing to install. Just open the page and go. Unity currently can only dream of that.

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      March 9, 2012 6:57 PM

      who said Flash was dying... and so what if iGadgets dont support it !

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      March 10, 2012 2:35 AM

      I shat bricks. So. HARD.

      I haven't done anything with the unreal engine since UT2K4 and It's super duper mega death uber crazy different now.

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      March 10, 2012 3:28 AM

      I have Flash 11.1.102.63, is it worth upgrading to see this?

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      March 10, 2012 8:28 AM

      Strange, I have Adobe Flash 11.2 and their page says "You appear to be using the incorrect version of the Flash Plug-In required for this content. This version requires Adobe Flash 11.2"

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      March 10, 2012 9:11 AM

      What's sad is that my iPhone 4 runs Epic Citadel better than my 2009 macbook pro :/

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        March 10, 2012 6:31 PM

        different resolution, not sad

        also i havent inspected or looked around, but do we know if browser citadel is using the same toned down engine as iOS?

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      March 10, 2012 9:11 AM

      30% performance hit would make me question if I wanted a BJ right then and there, let alone spend the time getting that to work in... flash.

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      March 10, 2012 11:34 AM

      if Unreal Tech can run at that level of fidelity in a browser then why the hell aren't developers/publishers all over it? Wouldn't using that option effectively negate the compatibility issues and need for high end gaming machines that keeps out so many potential gamers from enjoying core gaming on a PC?

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        March 10, 2012 6:34 PM

        uh it still runs like a regular game (need updated drivers & powerful hardware)

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      March 10, 2012 4:33 PM

      I am sure the performance hit would be far less than it would be if they tried to do the same with WebGL/Javascript. Either way you look at it, it is good for portability. Any platform supporting flash 11.2 will be able to play the same games provided they also meet the performance requirements.

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        March 10, 2012 6:33 PM

        the benefit of flash is it can run directx (hint hint, opengl isnt the most stable thing for ati drivers)

        & since it's just a cpu hit, that leaves room for optimization on all sides (epic/adobe/drivers)