SAN FRANCISCO--Getting one of the most advanced 3D game engines onto the iPhone has not been an easy task for Epic Games. But they're close to getting into the hands of developers, and gamers alike.
The makers of the Unreal Engine now say they've kept approximately 90 percent of the code from the PC version, but that process of getting it from PC to Mac, then to the iPhone has been cumbersome.
In a talk to developers at Tuesday's Game Developers Conference, Epic Games' senior console programmer Josh Adams illustrated some of the pitfalls in taking the Unreal Engine, which is--and always has been developed in Windows, over to other platforms. In this case it was Apple's iPhone, which despite being one of the faster smartphones on the market, does not compare to a multi-core gaming PC.
The Unreal Engine is what powers many of today's popular PC and console titles like Gears of War, BioShock, Mass Effect, and of course Epic's Unreal Tournament. What the company builds for its own games, it then licenses out, meaning other publishers can use it on their own titles. The company also has a development kit, which anyone can use (not just big studios), then sell their games for a small fee and a chunk of any revenues. In that regard, it's in the company's benefit to get it ready as something it can sell to other developers, as well as port in-house titles out as iPhone games.
Adams said that the single most pressing issue Epic has run into while porting UE3 to the iPhone, is simply getting the various systems to talk to each other. The engine itself consists of 2 million lines of code, many of which depend on Windows-specific features. In porting it over to the iPhone, Epic has had to make a number of workarounds and simply cut out things that were either too taxing or completely incompatible. … Read more