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The Unreal Development Kit is a free for non-commercial packaging of Unreal Engine 3 intended for use by independent and hobbyist developers. It includes most of the features of the commercial edition. UDK provides a level editor, content pipeline, simulation, and networking layer for Shadowrun Awakened.

Download & Documentation

The UDK is available through Epic's Download Page.

Documentation is provided primarily through the Unreal Development Network, aggregated under the UDN Documentation Page.

What does UDK do for us?

The UDK offers the ability to harness the Unreal engine for:

  • Graphics - State-of-the-art materials, particle effects, lighting, and shadows as seen in titles like Gears of War, Batman: Arkham Asylum, and many more.
  • Physics - Simulation through the PhysX library, offering hardware acceleration for users with NVIDIA graphics cards.
  • Networking - Physics and game state are synchronized with up to 64 players per area.
  • Content Pipeline - Content management for 3D models, textures, sounds, and everything else.
  • Content Editing - The UnrealEd level editor, Kismet visual scripting editor, and a suite of other tools for joining assets into a game.

This is just a sampling of the wide array of features. Best of all, it's a well-documented and mature platform that we couldn't hope to replicate even working full-time on just engine and tools.

What does UDK NOT do for us?

While the UDK is a powerful tool, it won't build the game for us. Known areas of weakness or expected additional software include:

  • Shadowrun Rules - Varios aspects of Shadowrun will have to be written in UnrealScript or made accessible via DLLBind in order to make the game.
  • Persistent World - The UDK is intended to provide for multiplayer games; however, it must be extended to enable saving characters and locations as the players enter and exit the areas of the world. The World Server application is expected to handle this.
  • Data Access - The UDK has some limited serialization for game state, but nothing on the level of connecting to an SQL database and saving comparatively vast quantities of data.
  • Patching - Changes to the client must be made using installers, thus a Patch Server will likely need to be created.