Unreal Development Kit: History, Features, and More

Unreal Game Engine

Unreal Game Engine

The Unreal Development Kit is a free version of the commercially available Unreal Engine 3 that allows professional and indie developers to create amazing 3D games using industry tools. Today, we will discuss the History and features of UDK.

What is UDK?

The Unreal Development Kit (UDK) is a free version of Unreal Engine 3 that allows developers, Educators, and students to create a wide variety of games that can be commercially released and are intended for public use. The UDK was released in November 2009 and new releases have been coming out. Until recently, Epic Games has ended support for Unreal Development Kit. The Unreal engine 3 was designed primarily for use with first-person shooter games. Still, due to the flexibility of the engine to use with almost any genre of games, The vast majority of the products you will see are first and third-person shooters. 

UDK can also be used to practice more things other than game development. It was developed as a mod tool that is released with every game that Epic Games releases and its purpose were to let users edit levels for those games.

History of UDK

The Unreal Engine 3 was released in July 2004. The Engine was based on the first generation but had new features. The basic functionality of the engine still was the same as Unreal Engine 1 but the parts of the games, renderer, and physics systems were very much improved and more powerful than before. Unreal Engine 3 was designed to take advantage of shader hardware. All the lighting and shadowing calculations were one per pixel rather than per vertex.

The Unreal Game Engine only supported windows, Playstation 4, and Xbox 360. Later in 2010, Epic Games release The Unreal Development Kit along with support for iOS and Android support. The Unreal Development Kit was the same as the Unreal Engine 3 but UDK was a free version of the Unreal Engine 3 and modders can now publish and sell their games using UDK.

Tools and Features of UDK

The UDK has several tools and features integrated into it. These tools and features are the same as Unreal Engine 3. UDK includes the Unreal Editor, a comprehensive suite of tools for creating interactive 3D environments, including level design, modeling, animation, and cinematic creation. It also includes Unreal Kismet, a visual scripting system for quickly creating game logic and interactive elements. Also, it includes UnrealScript, a powerful scripting language for creating custom game logic and AI.

The Art Pipeline

If you want to become a 3D artist for games, moves, and other stuff like this. The UDK has an entire Art Pipeline for you that allows you to easily import different models, textures, and animations to see how well they perform in a real-time environment. 

Cascade Editor

The Cascade Editor is an easy-to-use tool for creating particle effects using emitters in UDK and Unreal Engine 3. This editor can be used by double-clicking any particle system asset. Alternatively, it can also be accessed using the right-click context menu of a particle system. The cascade editor has six areas

  • Menu Bar for visualization and navigation
  • Toolbar to access different tools
  • Preview area
  • Emitter list
  • Properties area
  • Curve editor

Some Other Features of UDK

  • AI & Navigation – information regarding using AI for Navigation
  • Apex Framework – for creating cloth and destructive Effects using APEX
  • Lightening & Shadow
  • Physics – Using Ageia’s PhysX Engine for physical simulations
  • Bokeh Depth of Fields – Applies movie and photo focus effects
  • Tessellation – For smoother surfaces
  • Level Streaming – Dynamically loads level to create a seamless world.
  • Screen Space Subsurface Scattering – for rendering realistic human skin.

Licensing with UDK

UDK is free to use for development as long as the product is not making a profit. If you are a developer and used UDK to create and publish your own game, and if that game is not making you a profit, you don’t have to pay anything. But if the game is giving you profit, you can pay up to 50 grand for every product you publish using UDK. And after that, you have to start giving a 25% of the profit as a royalty to Epic games.

Games Developed using UDK

There are many small and medium fan-made projects developed using Unreal Development Kit that don’t count in the official Epic Games Released games.

Fursan Al-Aqsa

This is an Action game that addresses Israel vs Palestine issues from Palestinian perspectives breaking the stereotype of presenting Arabs as terrorists in front of the world. In this game, you can play in missions actress Palestine with objectives to accomplish, battles, and use powerful guns and vehicles.

Sonic Incursion

The Sonic Incursion is a fanmade game that started as a mini project in 2013 and it got released in 2020. The game is a 2.5D sonic fanmade game that utilizes Sonic GDK Framework that is developed using the Unreal Development Kit. The game features two characters Sonic and Metal Sonic, who are different from each other in case of levels and abilities. it Includes different stages and it uses the UDK features to include some 3D races and gameplays.

Renegade X

The Renegade is a first and third-person shooter tactical game with a real-time strategy based on command and conquer. It is an award-winning indie game that is developed using the Unreal Development Kit. The Beta version of Renegade X won 6 awards including the 2nd best multiplayer in 2009. And in 2010, The Developers decided to make renegade X a standalone mod and since then, the team has released single-player campaigns called Operation Black Dawn.

Gladiators of the Arena

The Gladiators of the Arena is an RPG game developed by Creative Oven Studios using the Unreal Development Kit. The player can play as a slave and as a citizen. In slave mode, You play as a slave gladiator fighting for survival in arenas of the roman empire to win freedom. After that, the citizen mode becomes available to play in which you play as a professional gladiator and this mode allows you to buy a house in the city or go hunting in the forest. 


The Unreal Development kit is the same as the Unreal Engine 3. The only difference is that with Unreal Engine 3, The modders cannot make their own game and publish it as their work. The Unreal Development Kit was a free version of the Unreal Engine released in 2009 that allows small developers to create, develop, or mod games and can publish them as their work all for free unless they make a certain amount of profit from the game. If you want to learn Unreal Development Kit and don’t have access to a course, It’s okay. There are thousands of Unreal Engine 3 courses that you can follow to learn Unreal Development kit because they are 98% similar except for some Engine Interface changes.

Categories: Blog
M. Saqib: Saqib is Master-level Senior Software Engineer with over 14 years of experience in designing and developing large-scale software and web applications. He has more than eight years experience of leading software development teams. Saqib provides consultancy to develop software systems and web services for Fortune 500 companies. He has hands-on experience in C/C++ Java, JavaScript, PHP and .NET Technologies. Saqib owns and write contents on mycplus.com since 2004.
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