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Announcements Page
Latest news from the Unreal™ engine development team
Also Visit PlanetUnrealUnreal UniverseUnrealNationUnrealityUnrealismUnrealKingdomUT CenterUTSystem

Check the sites listed above for information on the latest patch (version 405b).

Left.jpg (1269 bytes) November 29, 1999

Updated UT Linux Distribution (400A)

An updated version of the UT Linux distribution is now available. This version fixes several installer problems and adds a few performance improvements. If you already have UT Linux installed, just unarchive the LinuxCoreSystem.tar.gz file in your UnrealTournament directory and add DGAMouseEnabled=True to the [XDrv.XClient] section of your UnrealTournament.ini. Otherwise, follow the installation instructions in the README.

The README covers the changes and has additional instructions.

- GreenMarine

Left.jpg (1269 bytes) November 22, 1999

Running Full-version Servers with the Demo .INI files

Server administrators - please do not run full version of UT with the .ini files from the demo version.  It causes everyone to have a messed up skin.  To fix this problem without replacing your .ini files, make sure the [Engine.GameEngine] section of the .ini has the following ServerPackages lines:


- Jack

Left.jpg (1269 bytes) November 19, 1999

Porting Unreal I maps to Unreal Tournament

Unreal I content is automatically replaced by Unreal Tournament content if you run an Unreal I DM map with one of the Unreal Tournament gametypes.  However, we recommend that you manually replace the Unreal I inventory items in your level with their UT equivalents and release an updated version of the map.  Otherwise, both the Unreal I and UT versions will be loaded on the content, which will cause swapping on clients with low amounts of memory.

- Steve Polge

Left.jpg (1269 bytes) November 16, 1999

Unreal Tournament AI and game types document for Level Designers

This document describes how to set up your levels to support the new UT gametypes and bots.

- Steve Polge


Left.jpg (1269 bytes) November 9, 1999

Patch for server performance

This patch (489 KB) contains improvements to server performance for version 348.  We are also working on some other optimizations for the full version, but we did not want to include any changes which impacted network compatibility in this patch.

- Steve Polge

Left.jpg (1269 bytes) October 20, 1999

Demo Playback Crash Fixed

Here is a fix (488KB) for the crash in version 348 when playing back recorded demos.  It does not break net compatibility and is only needed if you want to play back recorded demos.  Sorry about this oversight.

- Jack

UT for Linux 348 Demo README

Here is the README for the UT Linux demo.

- Brandon "GreenMarine" Reinhart


Left.jpg (1269 bytes) October 19, 1999

New Unreal Tournament Demo Released - Version 348

This version will be the last demo version avaiable before UT appears on store shelves.   This version is NOT network compatible with previous versions, so we encourage everyone to upgrade.  It doesn't contain any new content - only performance improvements and bug fixes.   ngWorldStats will also be reset for this demo release.

- Jack

Left.jpg (1269 bytes) October 6, 1999

Windows 2000 RC2 Rocks!

I recently upgraded to Windows 2000 Release Candidate 2, and wanted to mention that it's extremely solid!  With NVidia's latest Windows 2000 TNT/GeForce drivers, DirectX7's Direct3D and OpenGL both work flawlessly.  What's cool about the new OS:

Windows 2000 Internationalization

This is a topic we're very interested in, because we're always trying to make our games and engine as widely accessible as possible.  As a matter of fact, today I'm working out the font management issues for the Japanese version of Unreal Tournament.

The Windows 95/98 OS had very weak international support, and a confusing array of incomplete features such as supporting Unicode in a few API's but not all, weird and undocumented multibyte character set handling, and mixed ANSI/OEM file system conventions.  Localizing Windows 9X apps is a very difficult undertaking.

On the other hand, Windows 2000 is by far the most thoroughly internationalized piece of software I've ever seen.  All international versions sharing the same binaries, fonts, and input support. Everything is 100% Unicode.  So, you can open up a Japanese language document on your English computer, visit Arabic web sites, use an Input Method Editor to type in Chinese text, and so on.  While most people might not care about that, it's infinitely beneficial for developers to have that power at their fingertips, because it enables you to do all of your international development and most of your testing without jumping through hoops and installing multiple OS's.

When Windows 2000 makes its transition into the consumer OS market, it will be a great day for worldwide software development.


Left.jpg (1269 bytes) October 2, 1999

Unreal Tournament players overtake QuakeWorld at #5

Top Game Servers By Players
from http://www.gamespy.com/stats/index.shtm @ 7:52 PM EST

Game               Servers Players
================== ======= =======
Half Life          1502    4344
Quake II           1628    1711
Starsiege TRIBES   589     1162
Quake 3: Arena     1040    1156
Unreal Tournament  423     520
Quakeworld         623     517
Kingpin            127     256
Unreal             134     144
Turok 2            20      43
Descent 3          8       23


Left.jpg (1269 bytes) October 1, 1999

TNT Users, Try This!


Experimental improvement for the brave:

These two downloads are beta and haven't been rigorously tested yet, but in our gameplay sessions here, they're a huge improvement on low-RAM machines with the TNT, TNT2, and GeForce256.  

Please let us know how these work for you, by emailing utbugs@epicgames.com

Latest Findings

We've been benchmarking UT performance and memory usage on many 3D cards, and we've found the source of the performance problems on 64-96 meg machines with TNT/TNT2 cards.

Our measurements indicate that the TNT/TNT2 drivers consume up to 25 megabytes of page-locked system memory with UT, while other Direct3D cards don't.  On machines with 64-96 megs, that kills performance, as one would expect.  The game runs, but data is swapped to the hard drive so frequently that playability is compromised.   We've been comparing with other 3D cards and aren't seeing the issue on the Rage 128 or Voodoo3 under Direct3D.

System-wide memory allocations measured with SYSMON.EXE on a 64-meg Celeron running Windows 98 SE:

We're working with the NVidia guys to track down the source of the extra 25 megabytes of memory consumption.  I'm going to hold off on posting our benchmarks till we've had a good chance to deal with the memory consumption issue, so everyone is on a level playing field.   The NVidia cards already perform well on PC's with lots of RAM, so they should be in good shape once the memory issues are solved.


Unreal Technology in the news:

Cool Sites:


Left.jpg (1269 bytes) September 29, 1999

More Hardware Troubleshooting

Direct3D Anomalies

We've been looking at the feedback on Direct3D performance and investigating some strange reports.  Recently, we've mainly been testing on 96-meg and 128-meg machines (I have a Celeron 400, Jack Porter has a K6-2 450).  On these machines, TNT1 performance is good -- average 28 fps at 648x480, 25 fps at 800x600.  The TNT2 performance is significantly better.

However, upon removing some RAM and testing Direct3D on a 64-meg K6-2, the "precache" time increased by about 5X, and performance dropped to a few frames per second.  These performance drops don't occur in the software renderer, and don't occur in Glide.  Something is going wrong between Unreal, Direct3D, and the TNT's Direct3D driver, and we're investigating.

Overall, the feedback indicates a very wide variance in performance among TNT users, much more so than with any other card.  Our internal testing has indicated this too; for example, we've found (and worked around) a lot of driver bugs that only happen on one machine, and not others with otherwise similar configurations.

Don't Try This At Home Dept.: Some TNT users have reported that tweaking their BIOS's "AGP Aperture Size" improves performance on 64-meg machines.  We have tried this and couldn't find any differences on our 64-meg test machine.  Others report that the Creative Labs unified drivers (with TNT Glide support) outperform Direct3D on their cards.  If anybody finds definite improvements or workarounds, or has insight into what's happening, please email utbugs@epicgames.com and let us know.


Athlon In The House

Mark Rein walked into Best Buy and picked up a 650 MHz Athlon off the shelf -- an IBM Aptiva with a TNT2 Ultra bundled in.  Fastest off-the-shelf machine we've ever seen!  Click here for our in-depth Athlon review.


Left.jpg (1269 bytes) September 28, 1999


More on this later, but for now I just wanted to mention that the Unrealty team at Perilith Industrielle have released a demo showcasing the Unreal Technology applied to real-estate walkthroughs.  They've also have posted a research paper on the topic, which was presented at VSMM'99.


Check out UnrealTournament.co.uk, a cool and growing news site with a focus on the UK and Ireland.  There's a lot of excitement over UT in the United Kingdom and Europe in general, as we experienced firsthand when a bunch of the guys went to the ECTS show in London.


Known Issues With The Demo

The known issues list is continuing to be updated, and is accessible here.

Unreal Tournament Demo Mirrors

Just got the latest list of UT download mirrors from Blue's News.

Full Demo:

Patch for 3dfx-only demo:

Final Demo File Information

A few versions of the final demo that were not intended for release have been released on various news sites. We made these builds of the demo so that server operators could set up servers. Unfortunately, a few unscrupulous server operators decided to release these builds on webpages. This only causes to create confusion. We have been working with GT on synchronizing a release and have been working on final issues with the demo.

Specifically, a test patch for upgrading the 3dfx only version of the demo was made available. This patch worked, but lacked the new DeathMatch map being released with the final demo. We pulled the patch, but various news sites had already made it available without our authorization.

Finally, a version of the demo "338a" has been going around that is also not legitimate. This version was built by the Epic team last night to test for a server map change problem (that was fixed). This version was mistakenly copied to the server operator's ftp, somebody downloaded and put it up for download.

Following me still? Here are the file names of the final demo and the file sizes. Demo version 338a will not work with the final demo. It is not new and you shouldn't download it if you find it.

File: UTDemo338.exe
Size: 55,603,712 bytes
Description: This is the final demo. Website administrators, please make sure the version you end up mirroring matches this.

File: UTDemo338cPatch.exe
Size: 9,892,864 bytes
Description: This is the patch to update the 3dfx demo to the final demo.

Please don't mirror anything else. It only serves to confuse the end user. We apologize for the confusion and the difficulty.

Brandon Reinhart

Left.jpg (1269 bytes) September 24, 1999

Demo Changelog

We've posted a changelog of all the bug-fixes and improvements we've made since the 3dfx beta.  These improvements will be in the full demo, which will be released in a couple of days. You can check out the change log here.

- Jack

Left.jpg (1269 bytes) September 22, 1999


Microsoft has released DirectX7.  You can read about it and download it from Microsoft's DirectX Page and download it on their Download Page.

Now that DirectX7 is available, we're doing final testing and tweaking on the upcoming Unreal Tournament demo with Direct3D and OpenGL support, coming in the next few days.

One thing we've found on DirectX7 is that NVidia TNT2 performance is not fill-rate limited until you get to very high resolutions.  During testing, performance at 640x480 seemed a bit slow, but as we increased the resolution, the frame rate was hardly impacted at all.  So 1024x768 seems to yield the best overall experience on this card.

I've enabled support for 32-bit color textures under Direct3D, which significantly improve the graphical quality, with a 10-15% frame rate impact.

The Direct3D code now uses vertex buffers, which speeds up mesh and text drawing a bit.

What about OpenGL?

We're still maintaining OpenGL sypport, though it's not as much of a priority at the moment because texture management performance in GL on Windows is significantly behind Direct3D.  It's still useful in NT4 and Linux of course.  I've been advocating a GL extension which would enable the fine-grained control over texture management that has led to such an improvement in Unreal performance under Direct3D.  Here is a suggestion I sent to the OpenGL ARB.

I've been maintaining the Unreal / Unreal Tournament rendering code under both Direct3D and OpenGL simultaneously for a while. They used to have approximately equal performance back when I was using Direct3D's "driver-managed textures" (similar to the one and only OpenGL option for texture management, which is transparent to the application). Unfortunately, the performance wasn't very good, and the memory usage was nuts because our game uses a huge amount of textures, and the automatic texture management in Direct3D and OpenGL had to keep duplicate copies around as "backing store" to the copies in video memory.

However, I recently rewrote my Direct3D code to manage textures explicitly. I create a limited number of textures of all possible sizes, forced to be in video memory, and then at runtime swap my actual game textures into those "video memory textures". This way, I have complete control over texture management, and can make optimal decisions about where to put textures, based on the constraints of my app, such as:

When I replaced D3D's default texture manager with my own code, Unreal's performance and memory usage under Direct3D improved very significantly, to the point where it's not worth bothering playing the game in OpenGL anymore.

So, my question is, does anybody have plans to add an "extended version of glBindTexture" which lets the application tell the OpenGL driver, "allocate this texture in video memory, keep it there, and never swap it out"? If an option like this existed, I could do the same kind of high-level optimizations as I did in Direct3D, and probably get a comparable increase in performance. Obviously, video memory is a limited resource, so at some point those glBindTextures will fail if video memory fills up, and have to return an error code.

This is a bit lower-level than GL's existing glBindTexture mechanism, but I think it's justified by the need to support apps which use huge quantities of textures and have to manage them carefully in order to maintain realtime frame rates.

For example:

If the
string is exposed, then you can replace a call to
    glBindTexture( GL_TEXTURE_2D, MyBindId )
    glBindTexture( GL_TEXTURE_2D_VIDEOMEMORY, MyBindId )
and the texture is guaranteed to be allocated in video memory and never moved around by the GL driver's texture manager.

For my application, glPrioritizeTextures(?) isn't a viable solution, because it still requires extra backing-store copies of textures to be kept in system memory so they can be swapped in and out. In addition, implementing my own texture manager on top of the existing, unextended glBindTexture isn't at all efficient, because I don't have any way of knowing how many textures I can allocate before they start spilling out of video memory, and in addition most GL drivers do lots of extra internal memcpy's in the process -- and with big textures, having lots of unnecessary 256K memcpys (for 256x256x32-bit textures) just kills performance.

Such a solution would benefit Unreal engine games on Windows, Linux, and possibly Mac such as Unreal Tournament, Duke Nukem Forever, Deus Ex, Wheel of Time, etc etc etc. As well as other developers' texture-intensive games that use OpenGL, such Starsiege: Tribes (the developers have been running into this same issue).

Experiencing poor Internet play on your  Voodoo3 3500TV?

As Voodoo Extreme reports, the Voodoo3 3500TV's WebTV installer does some evil things to your Internet setting, causing many games (including Unreal Tournament and Quake 3 Arena) to experience poor Internet play:

Hello, We are aware of the problems that the Voodoo3 3500TV is experiencing with online games. Many of these problems can be cured by removing WebTV, however that will disable the Visual Reality software. The problem usually can also be cured by removing the Internet Explorer 5 upgrade from Windows98. While these are just a work around, and not really fixes, both options usually will cure the problem until 3dfx releases a real fix. We are currently working with Microsoft to try and figure out whether the problem is due to Microsoft software (WebTV and IE5) or 3dfx software (3500TV drivers and Visual Reality).

Thank you for your patience,
Aaron D. Patton
3dfx Interactive Email Support


Left.jpg (1269 bytes) September 18, 1999

New Unreal Engine Licensee?

Just saw this exciting story mentioned on Blues' News. :)

-Tim "so you thought the Unreal engine was just for games?" Sweeney

A3D and EAX Support

3D sound acceleration is absent from the Unreal Tournament 3dfx demo while we sort out some recent code changes, but will be in the full demo coming next week.  A big thanks to the A3D guys, Skip McIlvane and Scott Etherton for helping us get the code back up and running.


Quick Note to Server Admins 

Server administrators - Please turn off the "Tournament Mode" checkbox.   It forces the game to wait for all the player connections to fill up before the game starts.  This is very frustrating for players when the Max Players is set to 16.

Also, if you're getting DNS errors trying to connect to the remote server administration, you might want to check Advanced Options.  Under Webserver, be sure your ServerName is BLANK.  This setting is used by the webserver and is not related to the server name as it appears in the Server Browser.  This corresponds to the ServerName entry in UnrealTournament.ini under the [UWeb.Webserver] section.

Remote Administration Server Crash Fix

I've made a fix for the WWW-based Remote Administration - In version 322 this seems to crash some machines instantly and works fine on others.  One of my machines had no problems but the other would crash as soon as I logged in.  If you're a Server Administrator you should download this file and extract it into your TournamentDemo\System directory.  Server administrators only, please.  No-one else needs this fix.

- Jack

Left.jpg (1269 bytes) September 17, 1999

Demo Version 321 -> 322 Patch Now Available

There is now a patch available for users who have downloaded the older 321 version from sites which accidentally posted it earlier today.  This patch updates your version of the demo to 322.   You only need this pacth if your version of the demo says "Version 321" in the top right corner.   The patch is available here.  The file is 5.35 MB (5,612,778 bytes).

Update on Demo Version Numbers

William Harms from PCGamer let me know that PCGamer and Next Generation are now running the correct version of the demo.  The correct version of the .exe file is called UTDemo3dfx.exe and is 51,305,472 bytes.  

On Demo Version Numbers

There is only one version of the demo which should be around.  In the top right of the menus it should say "Version 322".   Version 321 was the version we were testing the night of the Hurricane - if you have this version and got it from an FTP site advertising it as the UT demo, please let me know.  Note that Version 321 will NOT work with the 322 demo (and you won't see 322 servers in UBrowser)

- Jack

The 3dfx Unreal Tournament Demo Has Been Released

3dfxgamers.com have released the Unreal Tournament demo.  Download it NOW from one of these links (50MB)!

Download UT demo from 3dfxgamers.com.
Download UT demo from 3dgamers.com
Download UT demo from agn3d.com
Download UT demo from Mplayer.Com.
Download UT demo from PC Gamer Online.
Download UT demo from Sharky Extreme.
Download UT demo from UTFiles.com.
Download UT demo from UnrealUniverse.com.
Download UT demo from Won.net.

Please visit the UT Demo Known Bugs and Issues page before posting a bug report.

- Jack

All is well!

Sorry the demo wasn't out yesterday. 3dfx worked all night on getting their infrastructure ready to handle the demand. They are targeting demo release for Friday morning.

While they were working that out, Tim and I updated the demo archive. I put the ngStats fix in there so it is not necessary to download it. That's one good thing.

Based on feedback from testers, I've reevaluated my method of calculating ping in UT. After ECTS I decided to convince Tim we should subtract frametime from the ping calculation. This would result in the ping being a direct reflection of network performance (or close enough).

In retrospect this was a flawed decision for various reasons. I have changed the ping calculation to better reflect gameplay. This means that you might see a ping higher than you would expect when you join a server. I feel that this is better than seeing a lower ping than you would expect. I would rather you say "I'm getting a good game here, although my ping seems high" than "If my ping is this low, I should be getting better gameplay."

Big thanks go to Evil Avatar. I sent him various test DLLs with changes in the way I calculated ping. He then ran the game and played for a while. When he exited he told me the ping that my changes reflected and whether or not the gameplay felt to be at that level. We tested three or four variations and ultimately settled on the one I felt was the best in theory and turned out to be the best in practice.

You would be surprised how much ping can affect ones perception of a match even if the actual conditions behind a match are the same. I feel the current ping report more accurately reflects what people have come to expect from net gameplay. That removes some of the butterflies from my stomach, but I'm still apprehensive. This is the first demo of my first commercial game so I'm pretty nervous!!

Make good use of utbugs@epicgames.com to send us feedback. We'll definately be reading it.

- Brandon "GreenMarine" Reinhart

Left.jpg (1269 bytes) September 16, 1999

ngStats in the 3dfx UT Demo will need to be updated.

Okay, the version of ngStats in the 3dfx demo has a problem with it. It causes the player's name to show up wrong when you view your stats. The NetGames guys are putting together a fix and will have a new ngStats for UT distribution on their website soon. Probably before the demo hits the net. I'll update my plan and our various webpages with the URL when its available. Only people downloading the 3dfx UT demo and playing with [local] ngStats will need to get this fix. I suggest you get it when its available because ngStats is cool and fun to play with.

When you first play UT make sure you pick a skill level that suits your abilities. UT's first four skill levels are easier, so that if Joe Average buys the game he can have fun without getting spanked by the bots. If you play online, chances are you'll want to pick one of the top 4 skill levels. In the full version of UT, the skill level will ramp up as you play. In the demo it does this a little, but because there are only 5 maps its hard to feel the ramping.

Brandon "GreenMarine" Reinhart

Left.jpg (1269 bytes) September 14, 1999

Unreal Tournament demo schedule

To quote Voodoo Extreme quoting me :), here's the Unreal Tournament demo release plan:


Microsoft's new DirectX7 API will be released soon.  I've already ported Unreal Tournament's Direct3D code to DirectX7 and have noticed a nice speedup on the TNT2 and GeForce256, primarily due to improved texture management.

The API's simplicity has also improved, which is something you don't often see: usually code just gets more complex as it evolves.  Porting Unreal Tournament's code from DirectX6 to DirectX7 only took 3.5 hours, and mostly consisted of deleting now-redundant code and changing function calls and interfaces.  I'm very glad to see the IDirect3DTexture, IDirect3DViewport, and IDirect3DLight interfaces gone, and replaced by much simpler state-setting code.  Direct3D's abuses of object-oriented programming are now gone.

With DirectX7, Microsoft did something I welcome, and would like to see more of: they designed the new Direct3D interfaces to not be backwards-compatible with the old ones.  This enabled them to remove from view a bunch of the old baggage that obfuscated Direct3D: execute buffers are gone, unnecessary intermediate objects are gone, and much less weird COM QueryInterface stuff is necessary.

Ripping out old code and replacing it with new, better designed code is a great practice which too many software developers are afraid of.

-Tim Sweeney

Left.jpg (1269 bytes) August 16, 1999

Unreal Tournament development note

In response to the pirate punk who has been claiming to have a "final" version of UT...

Unreal Tournament isn't finished yet, so there isn't a final version. We're still polishing, fine-tuning, and optimizing the game and will 'till it's done.

Believe me, when UT goes gold, we'll be announcing it here prominently.

Until the demo and release version are available, any copy of UT you see is an unfinished beta version; unless you're a reviewer who received such a copy direct from Epic or GT, having such a copy is illegal. These versions are clearly labeled "confidential beta version" or "release candidate - not for distribution" in at least 5 places in the program. In addition, they have time-bomb logic which will cause them to stop functioning after a certain amount of time. So if anybody gets hold of a version of UT before release, it should be pretty clear that it's not legitimate.


Left.jpg (1269 bytes) August 14, 1999


Some people have been asking about our plans for supporting the upcoming DirectX7.  Unreal Tournament will ship with DirectX6 support, and will be compatible with (but not optimized for) DirectX7.  As soon as Microsoft has released DirectX7 and we've had a chance to optimize the code for DX7 and test it across a wide range of cards, we'll release an Unreal Tournament patch with complete DirectX7 optimizations.  This has been the plan all along.

DirectX7 has lots of cool new features.  The ones which Unreal Tournament will exploit are:


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