Happy Birthday Unreal 1
On May 22, 1998 the first game with one of the most important graphics engines for video games was introduced: Unreal 1.
Back in 1998: Good game engine come form id Software and no one else. The programs of the Quake developers are regarded to be the technical reference of the time. But on May 22 the small developer Epic Megagames introduces a shooter to the market that astonish the gamers and even id Legend John Carmack compliments the developers on the game: Unreal. With revolutionary light effects and extensive outdoor areas the game reaches a visual quality unknown up to that time. Furthermore the game combines an interesting level design with an halfway interesting story. Unreal is successful and gets several direct and indirect successors, but mainly it establishes Epic as the second big engine supplier - more and more games utilize the Unreal technology and even 3D Realms rerouted the development of Duke Nukem Forever to the new system (the transition is said to cost a few weeks of development time only). Even ten years later the Unreal Engine 3 still makes many games come real - quite contrary to its name.
The latest version of the Unreal Engine was recently updated with new features like Unreal Lightmass for enhanced lighting, a global system that allows effects like diffuse interreflection, specular interreflection, color bleeding and soft shadowing. Furthermore a Distributed Framework is supposed to make the Lightmapping run ten times faster now. Below the videos about the Unreal Engine you can find several screenshots of the original Unreal as well as pictures that exemplify the latest features of the Unreal Engine 3.