Epic's Mark Rein Clarifies Statements, Says UE4 Can be Ported to Wii U

By Javier Jimenez 30.03.2013 19

Epic

Mark Rein caused a stir last week when, at GDC, he laughed about the possibility of running Unreal Engine 4 on Wii U. When asked "will UE4 run on the Wii U?" Rein responded by laughing and saying "Hahaha no. I mean, sorry, it's not really a correct answer. We're not… we have Unreal Engine 3 for the Wii U. Right?"

Problem is, Unreal Engine 4 is designed to be highly scalable, able to run on anything from a fully kitted out PC to any mobile device. In fact, it's so scalable that it's being designed to run in html web browsers. That leaves people asking, well, why wouldn't it run on Wii U?

Rein has since clarified his statements. He is quoted as saying, "You heard the stupid gaffe yesterday about the Wii U. If someone wants to take Unreal Engine 4 and ship a game on Wii U, they can! If they wanna ship an Unreal Engine 4 game on Xbox 360, they could make it happen. While that game might not look as pretty as it would on a "true" next-gen console, the new engine is scalable to a variety of platforms, including mobile."

On Twitter Rein has further clarified, saying "I wasn't laughing at Nintendo or WiiU. I was laughing at how the question only included WiiU and not 360 or PS3."

For those not in the know, the Unreal Engines are game development environments used to create many of today's popular games. An example is Bioshock Infinite, which was created with Unreal Engine 3. UE4 is highly anticipated as a step forward for graphics in the next generation of games.

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Ross (guest) 30.03.2013#1

What a wan$3r!

Wow, what a douche. I can't believe how much people are laughing at Nintendo. These are supposed the so-called "professionals" in the gaming industry, and they are giving a very negative image of the gaming "professionals". If someone acted like this in another industry, they would be severely reprimanded.

Working like a fiend isn't very fun... and surprisingly isn't very fiendish either.

To be fair, it wasn't just him who laughed, from what I gather the whole audience laughed when the question was put to him, even if he may have prompted it by laughing first.

Anton (guest) 31.03.2013#4

What a fucking asstard troll mark! You went overboard there!

King Kai (guest) 01.04.2013#5

Change is hard. Power isn't the end all, be all anymore. You know, I wish that Nintendo could still brag that "Now you're playing with power" but I'd prefer not to pay $450-$600 dollars for a console. What's the hot technology right now? It's not high-end gaming rigs, it's tablets.

Sorry, I respect the Unreal Engine 4 but it's developer is behind the times. The Wii U isn't last generation, it's in just the right position to bridge classic gaming and the latest fad in gaming. Super Mario Brothers and Angry Birds will sell once Nintendo starts releasing quality titles.

I get it. Nintendo instead of playing it safe, Nintendo continues to release weird hardware that's difficult to develop for and fields first party games that are difficult for third party developers to compete with. Who really buys a Nintendo console for Bioshock Infinite? Really, why would anyone buy Bioshock Infinite for a console? Play it on a PC; it's superior, cheaper, and far more moddable.

I think that Microsoft and Sony are in trouble this generation because of Cost and Exclusivity. Basically it boils down to, "If a console costs as much as a PC, why not go for the PC if all of the console's best titles are available in superior versions for the PC?"I think that the Wii U will comfortably inhabit the space between the OUYA and the Sony/Microsoft consoles.

I just don't really get what the big fuss is all about; his company puts out a gaming engine, and Wii U's specs, though better than its predecessor's, just aren't capable of using the engine to its fullest capabilities.  Why should he apologize about that?  It was a question clearly designed to bait him into saying publicly that the Wii U just isn't that great for 2013's graphic expectation, and piss off the Nintendo Fanboys.

That being said, I love my Wii U Deluxe, and have been playing LEGO City: Undercover almost non-stop for two weeks, now.  It's just too bad that's the only game on there, at this time, that I have any desire to play.  As I'm nearing 100% completion, it looks like it's going to be awhile before I dust it off to play another game.

King Kai (guest) said:
Change is hard. Power isn't the end all, be all anymore. You know, I wish that Nintendo could still brag that "Now you're playing with power" but I'd prefer not to pay $450-$600 dollars for a console. What's the hot technology right now? It's not high-end gaming rigs, it's tablets.

Sorry, I respect the Unreal Engine 4 but it's developer is behind the times. The Wii U isn't last generation, it's in just the right position to bridge classic gaming and the latest fad in gaming. Super Mario Brothers and Angry Birds will sell once Nintendo starts releasing quality titles.

I get it. Nintendo instead of playing it safe, Nintendo continues to release weird hardware that's difficult to develop for and fields first party games that are difficult for third party developers to compete with. Who really buys a Nintendo console for Bioshock Infinite? Really, why would anyone buy Bioshock Infinite for a console? Play it on a PC; it's superior, cheaper, and far more moddable.

I think that Microsoft and Sony are in trouble this generation because of Cost and Exclusivity. Basically it boils down to, "If a console costs as much as a PC, why not go for the PC if all of the console's best titles are available in superior versions for the PC?"I think that the Wii U will comfortably inhabit the space between the OUYA and the Sony/Microsoft consoles.


An equivalent PC would cost more to buy, for starters you need a mobo that can accommodate an octo-core CPU, something which isn't cheap. Secondly, no PC I know has the ability to house 8Gigs of DDR5, which is only used on GPU's currently. The best GPU - The Titan, has 6Gigs of DDR5, and it costs £1000 each.


Your point is null, these consoles will sell because they offer high-end quality at cheaper cost to the consumer.

( Edited 01.04.2013 09:12 by Linkyshinks )

I had a long essay written out here on the tech in the PS4, however it got deleted somehow.

Suffice to say, respectfully, the PS4 is comparable to PC hardware, and it is not prohibitive. An A10 CPU is not in the same league as an i5 or i7. Nor is the unified structure of the PS4 ram inherently superior to PC architecture. The PS4 RAM pool is unified, shared between all components, by necessity, as console GPUs do not have their own onboard RAM, as PC GPUs do. Hence the PS4 will have 2-3gb for its GPU, while the rest is used for the OS, for the CPU, for other processing tasks, and other storage needs. On the same note, the Titan is expensive due to its cutting edge processor, which is several times more capable than the 1.84 TFLOP GPU in the PS4.

You could buy a $600 PC that will outpower the PS4. Comparisons of Unreal Engine 4 on the PS4 versus a high end PC support this conclusion:
http://www.dsogaming.com/news/unreal-engine-4-not-as-impressive-on-ps4-as-on-pc-comparison-between-elemental-pc-ps4-demos/
http://n4g.com/news/1222576/unreal-engine-4-side-by-side-ps4-vs-pc-comparison

There's a point to be made there, though. The PS4 can run UE4, just at a lower detail level. So can mobile devices, which is why UE4 is being ported to them. A version of Unreal Engine is even being ported to web browsers such as Firefox. Hence, the Engadget interviewer asking why the it was laughable that the Wii U not be considered for a port of the engine.

jres80 said:
I had a long essay written out here on the tech in the PS4, however it got deleted somehow.

Suffice to say, respectfully, the PS4 is comparable to PC hardware, and it is not prohibitive. An A10 CPU is not in the same league as an i5 or i7. Nor is the unified structure of the PS4 ram inherently superior to PC architecture. The PS4 RAM pool is unified, shared between all components, by necessity, as console GPUs do not have their own onboard RAM, as PC GPUs do. Hence the PS4 will have 2-3gb for its GPU, while the rest is used for the OS, for the CPU, for other processing tasks, and other storage needs. On the same note, the Titan is expensive due to its cutting edge processor, which is several times more capable than the 1.84 TFLOP GPU in the PS4.

You could buy a $600 PC that will outpower the PS4. Comparisons of Unreal Engine 4 on the PS4 versus a high end PC support this conclusion:
http://www.dsogaming.com/news/unreal-engine-4-not-as-impressive-on-ps4-as-on-pc-comparison-between-elemental-pc-ps4-demos/
http://n4g.com/news/1222576/unreal-engine-4-side-by-side-ps4-vs-pc-comparison

There's a point to be made there, though. The PS4 can run UE4, just at a lower detail level. So can mobile devices, which is why UE4 is being ported to them. A version of Unreal Engine is even being ported to web browsers such as Firefox. Hence, the Engadget interviewer asking why the it was laughable that the Wii U not be considered for a port of the engine.


A single GTX 680, which ran the UE4 demo on PC you link to above, costs in the region of $500 / £500 alone.

How do you believe the rest of the components needed (mobo, cpu and ram, harddrive, optical disc) could cost under a $100?

A 680 is not equivalent to the GPU in the PS4. A better comparison would be a GTX 660, about 1.9 TFLOPs, and about $200.

I think you're forgetting the fact that console hardware typically punches far, far above its weight. When you can optimize around a fixed spec without heavy OS constraints, you can achieve fantastic results. We've seen that this generation. The PS4 is not necessarily cutting edge (aside from 8 GB of GDDR5 RAM, that is impressive), but it's a very well specced machine that should give developers some good headroom.

You really can't just compare TFLOPS and call it a day with consoles. Nowhere near that simple.

And finally, the reason the Wii U isn't getting special treatment with UE4 is simple: why? UE3 has already been optimized over years for platforms with similar capabilities to the Wii U. There aren't a lot of great reasons to shoehorn UE4 onto the WIi U when UE3 is already there and ready to go.

The ability to "code to the metal" is another area consoles are overestimated. PCs are not struggling to reach efficient use of their hardware, nor are their OSs gobbling up much of the available resources. Processing tasks in a typical PC are not extensive. Games are the most intense application, unless you're doing some rendering tasks, such as video rendering.

Windows 7, a full featured OS that does much more than console OSs, uses up only about 2gb RAM at most, and almost none of the CPU. This is easily verified by a resource monitor, such as that built into Windows. Nor are PC GPUs struggling to reach efficient use. You can monitor exactly how much energy the processor of a GPU is with an electrical meter. As electricity is what powers the transistors and registers in a processor, it's an accurate measure of how much of the hardware's capacity is being used. And it is possible to max out the capabilities of a PC GPU.

Unless we're talking about a vast gulf in manufacturing size, resulting in more efficient energy use, then it is fair to compare PS4 straight across to a PC. Sony themselves called PS4's architecture like that of a PC. They've touted the ease of porting from a PC development environment (where most games are developed, including PS3 and 360). PS4 uses an x86 processor (note that it's x86 and not x64, thus 32 bit, not 64 bit), compatible with modern PC development environments.

So TFLOPs are not all there is to a processor, for instance there is the clock speed, however they are a good indicator of capability. TFLOPs are an indication of how many computations can be performed in a second. Given that the main purpose of a computer is to compute, that should be self evident. And so when you're talking about efficiency, low level access to the GPU can optimize some code, however it can't take a 1.84 TFLOP GPU and allow it to outperform a GPU of comparable architecture and greater processing capability.

Thus things like polygon and texture manipulation and rendering, which are very much dependent on computational ability, are greatly dependent on the processing power of the processor. So when we're talking about chipsets released in relatively similar timeframes, with feature sets that are fairly comparable, that rating is a decent indication of relative ability. And we do know what the GPU is in the PS4: a 7900 mobile variant, a 100W chip, 1.84 TFLOPs, DX11 feature sets, standard shader and texture architecture. No amount of low level coding access will allow that GPU to outperform a 660 Ti, much less a 680.

PS4 will be decent. It's going to be a huge upgrade over the PS3 and 360, both of which are pushing 8 years on the market. Sony fans are going to enjoy it, I'm sure. PCs are ahead of it and will pull further ahead of it in the coming years, both in performance and price. However that's not what really matters. What matters is the games. Buzzwords don't mean much without the software. The Vita versus the 3DS should be evidence of that. Without a compelling software library, no price will compel the market to embrace the Vita over the 3DS. And despite having vastly weaker hardware, a compelling hardware library is all 3DS needs to perform well in the marketplace.

( Edited 02.04.2013 01:13 by jres80 )

It's not so much the "coding to the metal" (though this does help -- and one aspect Sony brags about with PS4 development is that it offers APIs that go closer to the hardware level, though still above driver level, that go further than your typical DirextX environment), but the fixed hardware element. PC games have to be developed to scale across hundreds of different configurations. Different amounts of RAM. Different CPUs. Different GPUs. Different everything.

The reality is when you're programming for a set spec whose exact strengths and weakness you know, you can achieve incredible results. Why do you think games released for the PS3 and 360 can still be surprisingly good-lucking sevenish years after release. That's a freaking eternity in tech talk. I mean, these systems are using out-of-order processors with ancient GPUs and 512 MB of RAM and we're still seeing games like Halo 4, Bioshock Infinite, Uncharted, the Last of Us etc.

These systems are so old and creaky that smartphones will have caught up in terms of raw numbers in the next few years. But the simple fact that these systems have a fixed spec that developers can spend years optimizing around means they can stay relevant for far longer than one would expect based on simple "flops".

That's really the key advantage here. When a developer sits down to make a game for 360 and PS3 they know what they're getting. They know what they have to do to. The PS4 and Durango may be slowly merging closer to traditional PC hardware, but they'll still have this key advantage.

It's very easy to create scalable art assets. If you've ever seen Dolphin, you'll know that texture quality is usually made very high, even if the target hardware is not top notch, then rendered down to the capability of the hardware. If you've played a PC game, for instance Deus Ex Human Revolution, you'll see how many options can be turned on or off, such as DX 11 features, to achieve the best performance for the given system.

Hence scalability, the very feature touted by Unreal Engine. Given the number of multiplatform games that use scalable, portable engines, such as Unreal Engine and Unity. It's becoming a multiplatform world: the same game on several different platforms of widely ranging hardware specs. That's why Sony is pushing the PC architecture and the ease of development for its system.

Yes, when a developer knows the hardware very well they can achieve some nice things. The Super Mario Galaxy team did nicely with the Nintendo Wii. A lot of that is smart art direction though, overcoming technical limitations with intelligent use of the art budget (poly count and texture amount). However even then you can't overcome some technological limitations. Texture quality in PS3 and 360 games is very poor, solely due to the capabilities of the hardware, for instance. No amount of low level coding can overcome that.

Personally, I'll refrain from making any comment on Mark Rein's comments. I will just say it would be interesting to see what Epic could do with the Wii U hardware if they put some time and effort into it, in coordination with Nintendo. I'm sure there are U focused companies out there that would like to have UE4 to use as a development engine.

( Edited 02.04.2013 01:46 by jres80 )

Oh yes, art assets are scalable. But art assets aren't really what I'm getting at. 

It's Physics. It's animation. It's number of enemies on-screen. It's more dynamic environments. It's level geometry. It's better lighting. These things aren't necessarily assets -- these things have to be executed in close concert by the CPU and GPU. The better you know the strengths and weaknesses of your CPU and GPU; the better you know the latencies of the interactions of your components, the better you can optimize for that specific set-up. This is far more important than you're giving it credit for. 

Uncharted 2 happened on current generation hardware because Naughty Dog knows the PS3 inside and out and built a game directly tailored to every aspect of the PS3 hardware. That kind of stuff will still happen on PS4 and Durango.

Supremely scalable engines like UE4 will certainly level the playing field across platforms because that's what they're designed to do. But companies that really set to work on a specific spec (like Naughty Dog) will always get more out of the hardware they're developing for than you'd expect based on simple FLOPS.

This guys a dick, the question is justified to ONLY be asked about the Wii U since Epic ignored the Wii last gen. I'm sure it's no coincidence that Cliffy B left Epic with with ass hats like this who work there.

Freaking graphic whores like this are the reason why the industry will flownder again, power/graphics are nice but they aren't required to be the best to enjoy a game.

( Edited 02.04.2013 17:48 by Vorash Kadan )

It is not wise to speak on subjects you do not know all facts about, nor is it smart to judge a game based on looks alone. PSN: Nintendo_Gamer 3DS: 4296-3029-7422

Vorash Kadan said:
This guys a dick, the question is justified to ONLY be asked about the Wii U since Epic ignored the Wii last gen. I'm sure it's no coincidence that Cliffy B left Epic with with ass hats like this who work there.

Freaking graphic whores like this are the reason why the industry will flownder again, power/graphics are nice but they aren't required to be the best to enjoy a game.

It depends what you intend to do with a game, the design aims.

Honestly,so maybe his initial laughter reaction was a bit kneejerk, so was the audience's, but since then he's been made to apologise time and time again. It's not his line of work, UE4 is an engine for people to use, not something specifically built for anything in particular.

After the 3rd or 4th apology I began to think "come on leave the guy alone", jesus. Because it became less about a misunderstanding of what he meant and more like a "I made a mistake. I won't do it again, I'm sorry." like how much do people want seriously.

UE4 will probably make its way to the WiiU in some form eventually. If Nintendo properly hired them to do a demonstration of what it could do on WiiU, then yeah, maybe they would, that's probably what Sony did afterall. Sony needed them to show what the PS4 could do, not the other way around.

(before anyone misinterprets that last paragraph, I'm not implying the WiiU is as powerful as the PS4, I'm simply saying UE4 will probably be ported to run on WiiU someday.)

( Edited 02.04.2013 19:05 by SuperLink )

Twitter | C3 Writer/Moderator | Backloggery

Linkyshinks said:
Vorash Kadan said:
This guys a dick, the question is justified to ONLY be asked about the Wii U since Epic ignored the Wii last gen. I'm sure it's no coincidence that Cliffy B left Epic with with ass hats like this who work there.

Freaking graphic whores like this are the reason why the industry will flownder again, power/graphics are nice but they aren't required to be the best to enjoy a game.

It depends what you intend to do with a game, the design aims.

And as I've said before & will forever stand by, a mindset of needing to only experience "superior" realism in games causes people to miss out on enjoyable gaming experience for no other reason than their stubborn & foolish pride. No way a game like Wind Waker is terrible because of it's art direction. I can appreciate great visual quality, but I understand that it takes much more than that to make a quality experience. Uncharted wouldn't be half of what it is if devs focused soulely on the visuals & didn't put just as much if not MORE focus on the voice acting, great writing & story.

( Edited 02.04.2013 19:33 by Vorash Kadan )

It is not wise to speak on subjects you do not know all facts about, nor is it smart to judge a game based on looks alone. PSN: Nintendo_Gamer 3DS: 4296-3029-7422

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