Unreal in the Flash Player, a game changer?

Posted on:October 06 2011

If you have missed it, Epic and Adobe announced this week that the Unreal Engine is coming to the Flash Player. On the Adobe MAX conference, they showed that their engine is already running in the just released Flash Player 11, and that you can even play a full game with it. This video shows a flight through an Unreal Tournament 3 level, running inside a browser.
The demo was quite impressive, but I was a bit disappointed when I found out how they did it: Apparently, they simply (where 'simply' isn't the right word) cross-compiled their C++ code using Adobe Alchemy. It doesn't seem that they wrote ActionScript code for this, so this isn't really an Actionscript 3D engine. But who cares, you can still write impressive games with it.

Besides Farmville in 3D with super realistic graphics, this basically could be a game changer. First, people and more important, developers see that you can do anything in the Flash Player now. Hell, I've heard that the Unreal Engine runs faster in the Flash Player than it does on the consoles. I guess we will start seeing more and more 3D games on the web now. Besides the Unreal Engine, there are a lot of 3D engines for Flash popping up now. But I guess with Epics nice pricing scheme for their engine, I think all the other engine developers will have a hard time being in competition with Unreal. Maybe this could also be a problem for Unity, who previously announced they will be targeting Flash soon as well. Let's see. Competition is always a good thing, at least for us, the developers. :)

Currently, with WebGL and Flash Stage 3D becoming more popular, I think the way people buy and use games will change soon. Why should you buy, download and install a game on your system, when it could be possible to play it as well directly on a Website, from anywhere in the world? We'll see how this will turn out soon.

By the way, you did check out CopperCube already, did you? Shameless plug. It also supports Flash Player 11, already today. :)


why do you find it disappointing that they didnt have to rewrite the engine in actionscript? i think that's awesome. :)

"Competition is always a good thing, at least for us, the developers. :)" you mean for game developers, right? but shouldn't this be bad news for your coppercube business?

"Why should you buy, download and install a game on your system, when it could be possible to play it as well directly on a Website," i think if the game gets too big, the benefit of it being a web game kinda disappears and you might as well buy it on steam.
2011-10-06 13:18:00

I'm still not sure why this is impressive. All they've done is taken the Unreal engine and run it on a PC (not new), passing the rendered frames off to Flash to display (new, but relatively boring). Pretty sure I don't want a 6GB temporary download happening in my browser, with the associated risk of simply being purged from the cache before the next time I play.

Related - of course it runs faster on a modern high-end PC than on a console. What you're seeing isn't an amazing ramp-up of Flash's efficiency, you're seeing the Unreal engine running on a modern high-end PC.
2011-10-06 14:11:00

@Matthias: CopperCube is for quickly clicking 3D stuff together, without programming. So there is no competition :)
2011-10-06 14:36:00

"UE3 licensees will be able to access these new features that bring triple-A gaming to the Web."
Reads like: "Not included with UDK" ... that's the difference to e.g. Unity or Shiva3d.
They will be affordable for smaller studios, UE3 won't.

Correct me if I'm wrong ;)
2011-10-06 15:35:00

I have no interest in WebGL, because few browsers will be supporting it and it will be a long and hard fight getting them to do so. Unreal cross-compiled by way of Adobe Alchemy... fine with me, because 99% of the Web population already has a Flash player.
2011-10-06 16:13:00

but 99% doesnt have flash 11. hmm, i dont actually know how up to date people keep their flash players.
2011-10-06 17:50:00

@Matthias: It will only take a few months for most to update to Flash 11, because those with Flash players get "auto-update" notifications for newer versions. That's why the penetration stats by version move up so quickly.
2011-10-07 03:44:00

Just for Information Unity is developing a Flash Version of there Engine => http://blogs.unity3d.com/2011/09/01/unity-and-flash-a-sneak-peek/
2011-10-07 15:42:00

so, what do you think about google dart? :)

certainly a bit better than javascript but i hoped that its syntax would be a bit more python like. :)
2011-10-10 18:35:00

This is further proof that HTML 5 is at least 5 years away from primetime adoption. I want to see HTML5 succeed as does every web developer, but there is a real lack of standards for protecting online HTML5 content. As bad as flash is, I still get double the framerate for 3D in Flash 11 than WebGL, plus it appears that the textures are rendered far better. I also (regretfully) switched back to flash from HTML5 when watching youtube as the HTML5 video on both Chrome and Safari doesn't handle resizing or fullscreen properly.
2011-10-10 22:32:00

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