Unreal Development Kit unleashes March Beta

We first got a glimpse of the new Unreal Engine 3 last week at GDC, but the folks at Epic Games have just sent us a video to show it off in all its glory. And trust us, it’s pretty darn glorious this time around.

Unreal Engine 3 - Samaritan Demo

He's actually the good guy...

You’re looking at the March 2011 UDK Beta, which is the latest version of the Unreal Development Kit. That’s the free version of UE3, meaning that little indie developers can use the same toolset available to the big AAA blockbuster titles.

This is the real-time demonstration, titled “Samaritan”. It shows off NVIDIA APEX physics technology, DirectX support, high-end rendering features and a bunch of other engine upgrades – and all of them are available right now.

Important DirectX features now shipping with UDK include:

  • Tessellation and displacement;
  • Geometry shaders;
  • Multisampled textures; and
  • Shader Model 5.

High-end rendering features include:

  • Image-based reflections that allow surfaces of any shape to reflect an approximate version of scenes, with varying glossiness across surfaces, anisotropic HDR highlights and anti-aliasing;
  • Subsurface scattering (SSS) that simulates the light that scatters inside semi-translucent materials, making character skin come alive;
  • Anti-aliased masked materials that super sample the edges of masked and alpha-tested materials, making character hair more look realistic than ever before;
  • Deferred rendering with MSAA support;
  • Bokeh depth of field providing close to film-quality DOF, with artist-controllable Bokeh; and
  • High-quality dynamic shadows from many lights on the environment, such as shadows for point lights and other light sources.

NVIDIA’s APEX technology has also been integrated into the engine and ships with UDK.

For more information about what’s included in the March 2011 UDK beta, head to the [surl=http://udk.com/news-beta-mar2011]official website[/surl], for the full patch notes and some shiny, shiny screens.

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