Those were the first few non-expletives that formed in my mind when Epic’s Unreal Engine tech demo loaded up on my iPhone 4. Is this even real? Can the iPhone actually render such incredible visuals?
At 82mb, Epic Citadel is a small download. The demo boots up quickly with Epic’s trademark ‘poster’ load screen. From there onwards, the game submerges you into another world. A world so rich, dynamic, colorful and alive, it will make you question if it’s actually a video instead. But it’s not and you will soon realize that it’s all happening real time.
The demo allows you to explore a small area of a citadel. You can use the on-screen joystick to control the movements or single tap on screen to move forward, the right joystick controls the camera, giving players full FPS like access to move around the area and explore. There isn’t much to do than drool at the amazing visuals as the enchanting music keeps you floating into a sequence that’s absolutely unreal (sorry for the pun!).
Complete with HDR and shadows effects, and with a working physics engine (check out the flag at the top of the castle), the Unreal Engine for the iPhone gives us an exciting picture for the future. Though the frame rates are a bit choppy at the moment, it will surely be ironed out when it fully becomes (if not already) available to developers to tool around with. Such visuals have never been possible on a handheld device before. With enough care and a bit of success, the Unreal Engine 3 and id’s Tech 5 engine for the iPhone 4 will further solidify the device on the handheld gaming market.
If you have an iPhone 4, this is a must try. It’s free, too.