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Huge, huge news today for the Unreal Engine. It appears Epic Games is starting to hunker down and get serious about the ever-changing interactive entertainment gaming market. Epic has rolled out a three-step plan for getting any independent developer the right tools in their hands to build the best games possible.

Epic recently sent out a press release indicating that Unreal Engine 4.1 has been released to the public, and if you're registered to develop games on the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, you could be eligible to get some free tool support to help bring your game to life. How sweet is that?

The process is pretty simple. First you sign up to become a registered PS4 or Xbox One indie developer, and then you e-mail your stats to Epic. Next, you confirm that you're a registered developer with either (or both) platforms, and then Epic will verify and get you some tools. It's just that easy and that simple. You can even learn more about the sign-up process over on the Unreal Engine page

If you're looking to upgrade your development status as an independent designer, the best way to do it is to go Unreal or Unity. Personally? I think Unity offers more options for non-traditional games and unique titles that push boundaries in a number of different genres.

As far as ease-of-use and design-flow versatility, I would have to give the edge to Unreal Engine 4. The new blueprint toolset is a great way to help beginner designers get certain properties up and running in real-time, right within the engine, without requiring any heavy scripting tools or experience in deep programming or coding knowledge. It's a great way to help artists of all kinds get a taste of game design without pressuring them with innumerable prerequisites in design theory.

The video below gives you a good idea of how to use blueprints in Unreal Engine 4 for pretty cool results.

Of course, that's not to take anything away from Unity 5. It's currently the only affordable engine on the market with built-in global illumination.

But what's more is that Epic has announced that they will be following in the footsteps of Unity, AMD and other indie-devs who are supporting the Valve's open OS.

That's right, Epic Games announced that the latest Unreal Engine will support Linux and SteamOS. Do you know what this means? It means that any game built on the newest version of Unreal Engine will have no excuse as to why it won't be on Linux or SteamOS.

As for the Steam Machines... they'll be launching along with Valve's open-platform operating system at the end of this year. By then, there should be an ample library available and plenty of big-name games in the work to help push adoption for the Linux-based gaming system.
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