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Forget the Console Wars - Unreal Engine 4 is the Best Innovation of Current-Gen

Unreal Engine 4 is taking over the world, pixel by pixel, and for good reason.

Since the current generation of consoles arrived, the great debate on which is better has rattled on. Which has the better framerate? Which has the better graphics? Which has the better games?

While some of that may matter every now and then, what's more important is what's behind the games we play, and that's the game engine.

Unreal Engine 4 (UE4), the latest iteration of Epic Games' state-of-the-art game engine, was released only last year. It's faster, simpler, and more efficient than its predecessor.

Although UE4 hasn't yielded any highly-acclaimed game releases as of yet, its one year in existence has already generated a great deal of evidence that point to it as a dominant leader in game development, and - more than any console - the best innovation of current-gen.

Architectural Visualization

If there's one reason why UE4 is called "Unreal", architectural visualization is probably it.

Since the release of UE4, a number of simply astonishing photorealistic environments have been made and gone viral, establishing UE4's status as something much more than just a video game engine.

The sheer power of the engine is put to good use to simulate environments that could easily exist in real life, providing a modern way of planning and conceptualization before anything beyond the confines of a screen gets built.


Cosy apartments, sleek buildings, sandy beaches - these are some of the many things that make us question our eyesight and think, "It's so real, it's unreal."

What's really exciting about architectural visualization in UE4 is that it presents a taste of the future of gaming, where consoles will be powerful enough to render ultra-realistic images all in real time. 

So while UE4 is helping architects around the world as a unique tool to attract clients, it's also helping gamers prepare for the day when what we see in games and what we see in the outside world will be one and the same.

HD Remakes

We're only a couple years into the current generation of consoles, so it makes sense that we're having an influx of remasters of some popular games, but what about older beloved games that aren't being officially remastered? 

Well, thanks to UE4, the greatness of the previous millenium might very well be returning with a bang, as some dedicated fans have utilized the capabilities of modern technology to help bring their favorite games up to modern standards. 

Games like Resident Evil 2 and Shenmue that have never been remade are finally being worked on by avid fans with the brains to update those classics for modern audiences. Resident Evil 2 Reborn by indie team InvaderGames is coming this summer, while Shenmue HD is coming whenever Korean Kid Nocon is finished with his grand but impressive project.

This is a promising start on the way to preserving some precious gaming gems. Many game publishers are unwilling to put valuable resources into games they don't see maximum profit in; that's why UE4 is such an important innovation.

It is the only way cherished games of the past can be brought back from the dead and compete in a contemporary market without having to go through all the corporate hurdles. All that's needed is a few passionate fans with the technological know-how, and that's definitely not something hard to come by.

Free

Best of all, UE4 is free. Tools, updates, source code, everything: free.

After becoming one of the only completely free hardcore game engines on the market, flocks of people have used UE4 for all kinds of purposes, including film, education, and VR. But one use of UE4 has become rather popular as of late, and that's bringing characters never-before-seen in UE4 to life.

Where else can you see Mario all shiny, human-like, and lost in the real world?

When Epic Games announced in March that UE4 would become free for everyone and anyone, it opened doors to millions of people to try their hand at one of the best game engines ever, and in turn, increased its popularity tenfold. But it also set a precedent, as Unity 5 and Source 2 soon followed suit in becoming free game engines for developers to use.

Providing a suite of robust features free for everyone to use drives creativity. It enhances the production of all forms of art and entertainment, and builds a community of intelligent creators. 

By being available to anyone with a computer, UE4 ensures a bright future where anyone can flourish and succeed in any industry. It ensures a future where anyone can restore the past in any setting. It ensures a future where the lines between reality and imitation no longer exist.

Unreal Engine 4 is at the forefront of modern technology, and its power will no doubt help the gaming industry and beyond prosper from the current generation to the next.

Published Jul. 25th 2015

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