Epic Games has made available its Unreal Engine 4 tools to everyone for $US19 per month, plus 5% of revenue from any game made using UE4. In exchange, users will be able to develop UE4 titles for PC, Mac, iOS and Android. A subscription grants access to the full C++ source code via GitHub, documentation and tutorials, access to developer forums and regular updates to the engine.
Subscribers will have the option to cancel their subscription at any time and will still have access to UE4 tools, however they will lose access to any future engine updates until they resubscribe.
“This is our complete engine, with everything Epic provides to leading game developers, priced accessibly for teams of all sizes, budgets and aspirations,” said Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney.
The 5% royalty is calculated from gross product revenue, which includes game sales, microtransactions and in-game advertisements. It also comes on top of any costs charged by storefronts such as Steam or iTunes. Companies will have the option to negotiate a licensing deal with Epic Games to reduce the 5% royalty in exchange for an up-front payment.
Epic emphasised that this release is aimed at early adopters. As such, a high-end computer is required (Epic cites the NVIDIA GeForce 470 GTX or the AMD Radeon 6870 HD series cards as minimum requirements), Mac and Android tools still need to be tested and C++ documentation remains sparse.
Previously, smaller developers and students had access to the Unreal Development Kit (UDK), a free version of Unreal Engine 3 tools which excluded access to the full C++ source code. In addition, whenever a game made using UDK went for sale, Epic would charge $US99 and would receive a 25% royalty of revenue over $50,000.
Article updated to include UDK royalties. Thanks to Kristofer.