Virtual reality is getting a second wind in the game business, where its failures of the past have made everyone skeptical. But Oculus VR, the maker of the Oculus Rift (pictured at last week’s Nvidia GPU Technology conference) virtual reality headset, is hoping it can convince everyone that VR is back and that the experience will be an awesome one.
Epic Games, maker of the Unreal game engine, will do its part in helping Oculus. Today, the companies are announcing that Epic’s latest Unreal Development Kit (UDK) will be available with Oculus-ready code for every developer who has purchased the Oculus Rift game development kit. On top of that, all Unreal Engine 3 source licensees will receive the Oculus-Unreal Engine 3 integration code for free. The idea is that this will jumpstart the market for virtual reality games on the Oculus Rift platform.
“Developers have used Unreal Engine technology to create some of the most memorable games in history,” said Tim Sweeney, a founder and the CEO of Epic Games, in a statement. “We view virtual reality as a massive technological step forward and are arming all developers with the tools to create game experiences that represent the future. Our partnership with Oculus will bring the highest quality experiences to virtual reality games.”
Epic Games and Oculus have been collaborating since the launch of Oculus’ Kickstarter campaign. The custom Oculus-ready version of UDK, the free edition of UE3, will include the Epic Citadel tech demo, a medieval castle and village that developers can explore in virtual reality with the Rift. The companies are showing off the technology this week at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.
“We’ve said from the start that independent developers were as important to us as triple-A developers,” said Brendan Iribe, CEO of Oculus, in a statement. “The Unreal Engine and UDK have proven time and again that they are première engines for all game developers. Our relationship with Epic shows our commitment to give every developer the chance to create the next amazing game experience.”