Epic Games' Mike Fricker has confirmed that his company's next Unreal Engine update, version 4.1, will include Linux support - including full compatibility with Valve's prototype SteamOS distribution and Steam Machine platforms.
Following rival Crytek's announcement that the next release of CryEngine will include support for Linux
, Epic's popular Unreal Engine becomes yet another big name offering support for developers looking to target the open-source operating system. This sudden explosion of interest, after years of neglect, can be attributed directly to Valve's SteamOS distribution, a customised version of Debian Linux with integrated support for the Steam digital distribution platform.
'Folks have been asking about our early Linux efforts and support for Valve’s SteamOS and Steam Machines,
' wrote Fricker in a blog post
late last night. 'We have good news for you! The 4.1 source code has initial support for running and packaging games for Linux and SteamOS. We love Linux!
Fricker has not yet detailed how 'initial' the support truly is, although there is a warning that it will require the developer to compile the engine from source rather than using pre-compiled binaries, but regardless of the state of Linux compatibility when Unreal Engine 4.1 launches it's a clear indicator that it will be included in the engine going forward - and will only improve over time.
Additional new features of Unreal Engine 4.1 include additional templates, improved user experience through new assistants and layout functions, an undo history window, the ability to jump directly to connections in graphs, an experimental translation editor, and numerous bug fixes.
Epic is also giving all Unreal Engine subscribers - who pay $19 plus five per cent of their revenue to use the engine - access to the assets used in the Elemental demonstration first released in 2012. If you've forgotten what that looks like, there's a reminder embedded below.