For the last couple of years a new trend in software development has been gaining popularity where a huge company, instead of marketing their product directly to the consumers like in the old days, gives away all the necessary tools to create epic content to everyone for free instead. That’s exactly what’s happened with Unreal Tournament and the latest Unreal Game Engine from Epic Games.
A free game built by the community
Unreal Tournament 4 is indeed free to play, but you still need to get an Unreal Engine 4 subscription to develop new content for it. However that doesn’t mean you don’t have any say in what’s going to be built. On the contrary, Epic Games has a very transparent community where everyone has a chance to voice their ideas and concerns and whichever idea gains enough juice will be implemented in the game. Design questions are constantly being addressed in their forums and Twitch streams where all the fans can contribute in a meaningful and inclusive way.
Make mods and earn cash
Epic Games has stated that the community will eventually have a huge marketplace full of fan created content and since the source code for the game is freely available on GitHub, literally anyone who has the technical know-how can create epic mods and new content for the game which they can then sell on the marketplace or give away for free.
In case you’re going for the money, Epic Games will take a small portion of your profits as well. Steve Polge, the main coder behind Unreal Engine, has officially stated that this new form of profiting is way more attractive to them than the old “ship and pray” method where you can’t really be sure whether your game will make it in the real world or not. By letting your fans create content for you, you pretty much guarantee that someone somewhere will come up with something that sells.
Major changes in the latest build
There’s a huge list of changes for the latest release of the Unreal Engine that was released today on the 2nd of January, 2016. While most of the changes are simply bug fixes and modifications to existing features like improvements to showdown and team showdown, weapon balance tweaks, improved skill ranking calculation and networking issues, there are also some new additions like the DM-Sand which is a new playable deathmatch shell.