Epic Says Valve’s Source Engine is “Long in the Tooth”

Valve’s Source engine and Epic’s Unreal Development kit are two of the most popular toolsets among indie game developers. While Source is a favorite among modders, the UDK has been the most powerful free-to-download utility available to developers for two years.

PC Gamer recently spoke with technical artist and level designer Alan Willard and Epic’s European territory manager, Mike Gamble about how the UDK matches up against the competition.

When asked why an indie developer should use the UDK instead of the Source Engine, Gamble said:

Because it’s current, right up to now. It’s DX11 if you want it. It’s what we built Gears with. Source is a little long in tooth, isn’t it? There’s a lot of modding done with Source, but I think you’ll find a lot more original content made with the UDK.

When asked why, then, are more mods released with Source than the UDK, Willard said:

Valve has a history of buying mods. I think that’s somewhat attractive to people. It’s like, “hey, maybe if I make a really good mod Valve will buy.” It’s where Portal came from, it’s where Counter-Strike came from, Team Fortress. Counter-Strike was a HUGE mod. It was hugely popular, a lot of people played it, so people are going to be attracted to making a mod for it.

Gamble said:

Our community is building games. There’s IOS games, there’s PC games. Things like Hawken. That’s a real poster child for us.

You can download the UDK for free at the official website.

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2 Comments on Epic Says Valve’s Source Engine is “Long in the Tooth”


On July 17, 2011 at 11:37 am

I like how they talk about DX11, yet every game that has been made on the Unreal engine has been built around consoles, thus most of the DX11 effects and advantages are moot.

And the best reason to use the UDK over source? “DUR, WE BUILT GEARS WITH IT!”

I have no problem with the unreal engine. Every game engine has its own feel, and while I do like the way source games feel, unreal is different but still fluid and solid feeling. But something must have changed, because as I pointed out before, Unreal Tournament, as well as UT2003 and UT2004 were quite heavily modded, where as nobody seems to do anything with the current UDK. Source meanwhile still has mods coming out, some of which were started when the source SDK was originally released nearly a decade ago.

And even with the age of the source engine, many of those games look better than most of the unreal based games. Maybe it is because most unreal powered games have that cartoony look to them, or that they put a focus on some things like character models and skeletal structure while lacking in other areas. I know I can’t be the only one who saw the initial screens of UT3 and my pants, but then when I got the game and it looked nothing like the screens, was then let down.

CJ Miozzi

On July 17, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Actually SupremeAllah, UT3 was heavily modded as well — given the size of its community. I was a diehard UT3 fan and I’m well aware of the amount of custom content the community made. Source games are much more popular, so its only natural that you’ll see many more mods.

Also, the UDK is not used to create UT3 mods. UT3 has its own editor. The UDK is used to create standalone games — and we’ve seen many indie games come from the UDK. Anything made with the UDK cannot be run in UT3.

Regarding the look of UT3… you just need to know how to configure your settings. Here’s an in-game action screenshot I took:


For a four year old game, I still think that looks pretty sweet.