Epic Games revealed during GDC 2014 a subscription model for Unreal Engine 4 for PC, Mac, iOS and Android. For $19 per month, the development community will have access to all the tools, features and complete C++ source code. In addition to the monthly fee, developers will also be required to pay 5 percent of gross revenue resulting from a commercial product built using this engine.
"With the release of UE4, Epic is moving to a community-centric model built around forums, a Wiki and AnswerHub Q&A, with GitHub hosting the complete C++ source so developers can utilize its robust collaboration functionality for experimentation and sharing," reads the company's PR.
In addition to the subscription model, developers can also license Unreal Engine 4 through "custom-negotiated" terms. This is for companies that want a closer relationship with Epic, or those who seek to reduce or even eliminate the 5 percent royalty in exchange for up-front payment.
According to the company, the Unreal Engine 4 engine and game code are developed in C++, using Microsoft Visual Studio and Apple's Xcode. Epic's new engine provides a "rich" suite of tools including:
- The Blueprint visual scripting system, giving designers and artists unprecedented power to construct gameplay logic without programming
- A visual material editor
- The Persona animation system
- The Matinee timeline-based machinima and cinematics system
"Epic's goal is to put the engine within reach of everyone interested in building games and 3D content, from indies to large triple-A development teams, and Minecraft creators as well," said Epic's Tim Sweeney in a blog. "Having the full C++ source provides the ultimate flexibility and puts developers in control of their schedules and destinies: Whatever you require to build and ship your game, you can find it in UE4, source it in the GitHub community, or build it yourself – and then share it with others."
To get started, the Marketplace in the Unreal Editor provides plenty of ready-made content, samples, and game templates. Right now, this Marketplace will host free items from Epic, but will eventually grow into an app store packed with community-created content that's paid and free.
For more information about what this subscription will bring, read Sweeney's blog and check out his video below. Developers can get started by heading here.