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Unreal Engine Versions

The Unreal Engine is modular. Epic rewrites different parts of it, but like the philosopher's axe, it is still the same engine. As such, there are no concrete versions, only numbered "builds" which may or may not contain certain features. Licensees eventually stop merging builds from Epic, but often continue incrementing the build number on their own (instead of the specific "Licensee Version" number), so occasionally disparities arise, as you'll see with Unreal Tournament 2003. Also, with the exception of America's Army, Epic's release of a game marks the first game of that generation engine. AA was the first licensee product to ship before Epic's product of that generation engine.

Generations of the Unreal Engine

UnrealEngine1 (first generation tech)

Unreal 1

The original Unreal engine. Publicly started with the release of Unreal 1, although licensees like Legend and Microprose had possessed the technology much earlier. Culminated with 226f, the final patch to Unreal 1.

  • Builds through 226f

Unreal Tournament

Enhanced version of the original builds. The codebase was forked and the version number jumped to 300 and incremented from there, culminating in 451, the final patch to Unreal Tournament. Major enhancements were to the renderer, to provide proper Direct3D support, and eventually to integrate Warren Marshall's new UnrealEd 2. Additionally, the PS2 and Dreamcast versions of this engine debuted in this timeframe, and initial skeletal animation support was integrated.

  • Builds 300-451

UnrealEngine2 (second generation tech)

Incorrectly called "Unreal Warfare engine," "UT2003 engine," "U2 engine," etc. When licensees refer to using "Warfare," they're referring to UnrealEngine2, the second generation of Unreal engine technology. There may be a game called "Unreal Warfare" in the future, no-one knows, but the engine naming scheme itself is UnrealEngineX or X-generation Unreal engine.

This was a significant overhaul to the rendering and editor systems, featuring compressed textures, a new particle system, full skeletal animation support, hardware texturing and lighting support, rewritten PS2 support, new support for GameCube and Xbox, and more. These builds started at 500, licensees first saw them after 600, and were publically available as build 927 with the release of America's Army. When Epic took over finishing UT2003, build numbers jumped a thousand versions to 2000+.

  • Builds 500-2226 (licensee version of UT2003 2225)


The third-generation technology was previewed at various expos and Nvidia promotional affairs. The next step beyond Doom III-style rendering, this tech is super sexy.

  • Builds 3000- ...?

Games Using Unreal Engine


Released 1998

Released 1999

Released 2000

Released 2001

Released 2002






  • Atma (Vinayak 4D Games)
  • Y-Project (Westka Interactive)
  • Falcone: Into the Maelstrom (Virgin Interactive)


  • No licensees have the tech. No information is known about Epic's game(s) using the tech.

Related Topics


ATimson: I've gone through, fixed some typos, prettied up the version info by game. Question, though; was 777 really the first version with PS2 support? Or was this gleaned from the "Patch777PS2" from the UDN, which I suspect was a patch to the already-there PS2 support?

Foxpaw: Is it just my imagination or is there a good bit of inconsistency on this page? First Generation is Unreal 1/Unreal Tournament.. so second generation is the engine UT2003 is built on? Yet DX2 is built on the same engine, but it's stated above as using "Warfare" which is indicated to be third generation in the above comments. To complicate matters further, there's mention of a fourth generation, yet similarly an indication that the third generation (DX2??) was recently previewed at a show? Which generation is really which?? Further, as far as I know, there's no "warfare" game nor was one ever planned, I think it's just a term to describe that generation of the engine, possibly UT2003 was at one point going to be called Unreal Warfare instead?

EntropicLqd: I'm pretty certain that there was going to be a game called Unreal Warfare (that was not UT2003). Whether there still is or not is a matter of great conspiracy. Just don't discuss it on the official forums - locksville awaits. My personal opinion is that sections of what was Unreal Warfare has been absorbed into UT2004 and most likely Tribes Vengance (made by a different company or not). One thing is certain if Epic are working on another game they are keeping very quiet about it.

Vito: There's no inconsistency. There's no conspiracy. The new and accurate naming scheme is UnrealEngineX, or X-generation Unreal engine. "Warfare" and "Unreal1 engine" and "UT engine" and "UT2003 engine" are all, in one way or another, confusing and inaccurate. There's no "Warfare" game, for example. So I've updated the page with the new naming scheme, and encourage you all to use it. UDN has switched over it. Epic has switched over to it. Please, no more confusion. :)

Foxpaw: With all due respect, all Unreal-Engine based games are not created qual. The "UT2003 Engine" is not a 2nd generation unreal engine straight from Epic. It has some features and specifications other unreal engine games do not. Devastation, similarly, has some features and nuances that are not the same. Deus Ex plans to use a completely different physics engine. (though why they want to use Havok instead of Karma escapes me.) Kind of like trading in your Corvette for a K-Car if you ask me) So, I think it's still reasonable to refer to engine by the game they were released with, because they aren't all the same.

Vito: You're confusing the game with the technology used to make the game. The engine – the underlying technology that is consistent across all Unreal engine games, the stuff that makes characters walk around, that draws them on the screen, that lets you see what other people are doing too – has definitive names, generations, build numbers. Licensees take that technology, add their own buttons and bows, and make it their own, but it's still the Unreal engine (generation XYZ, build number ABC) underneath. UT2003 has an additional particle system, xEmitter, that DE added. Unreal II has a new particle system and a new skeletal system, that Legend added. ION Storm Austin went with Havok instead of Karma. No game uses the stock engine straight from Epic, not even Epic. All of these games are still using the second-generation Unreal engine. They licensed it, paid for it, and are using it, whether they're using it stock or not.

Foxpaw: Well, yes, that's my point. A person using the "UT2003" engine may want to use xEmitters. We can't really say that that is a part of the second generation Unreal engine because it isn't. Thus we use the term "UT2003 Engine." So for that reason I don't think it's fair to say that it's "incorrectly" referred to as the UT2003 Engine.

Horizon_Genesis: But there is an Unreal Warfare engine out there, to confirm this you can begin playing

XIII (recently released and using the 2nd gen unreal engine, but with a cel-shade, then while you are playing alt-tab

back to windows and you will see the words "unreal Warfare" in the taskbar icon...

El Muerte TDS: old code drop maybe, wany like Vito says, the new scheme for unreal engine generations is: UnrealEngine# (when # is the generation). So Unreal1 and UT use the UnrealEngine1 and UT2003/UT2004/Unreal2/... use UnrealEngine2. If you want to refer to the specific engine of the game use something like: UT2003 version of UnrealEngine2.

RDGDanClark: As far as I'm concerned, if Epic says that there is no "Unreal Warfare" engine, then it doesn't exist. After all, it's their engine. If the studio behind XIII wants to call it that, fine, but they could call it the "Unreal Monkey Spank" engine and it still wouldn't matter – it's Epic's engine, they get to name it.

GRAF1K: Tim Sweeney recently announced that there will be an Unreal Warfare (note: will). As for generations, UDN sets the standard for all. It's Epic's game, as RDGDanClark points out. Listen to Epic and be content.

GRAF1K: With the release of UnrealEngine2 Runtime, UnrealEngineX does seem to be the standard convention. Yet UDN still lists Unreal/UT-based games as first generation. Make up your mind, Epic! UnrealEngineX or generations?!

Foxpaw: Hmm, that was wierd, I was writing a bunch and then it disappered. So Itll just give you the abridged version :

UnrealEngineX is the "official" product name cooked up by the marketing division.

"nth Generation Unreal Engine" is a descriptive title, that, though not it's original name, is probrably better. Like how we call dihydrogen oxide "water." "Water" isn't an official name, but it's so much more informative, isn't it?

Corran: Where do you think the UnrealEngine2 Runtime should go. It's a second generation thing, but is it classed as a game. I think we should also have an area for Runtime specific discussions and problems.

Solid Snake: Woah, don't start calling the UnrealEngine2 Runtime a game, you'll run into some probles there.

Daid303: How about throwing the the word 'games' into the trashcan and put 'software' in the place? or 'programs'?

Oh, and how about adding if a game is modable? because not all UE based games are modable.

GRAF1K: Why would any Unreal Engine game be unable to be modded? I can't think of any reason.

Corran: Well Deus Ex: Invisible War isn't going to have any sort of SDK released for it AKAIK.

Foxpaw: I could see why SOME games wouldn't be moddable. For instance, America's Army. If you could mod America's Army, you'd have the same issue that you had with Epic not wanting people to use the Runtime for games. Some developers also may not want their software modded, because although it extends the life of the game, it may decrease sales of a sequel or especially an expansion pack, if community made expansions are already availible.

GRAF1K: I suppose you're talking about something entirely different than I am; you're talking about licence agreements and support, and I'm talking about actual technical limitation.

Foxpaw: Well, yes, but I believe that some licensees may subtly alter the package specification so that the public tools could not access them. This would fairly effectively stifle any attempt to make a mod for them.

TheRenegadeMaster Yep, no SDK for DX:IW. Just when its needed too...

Refactor Me

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