Epic Citadel released for Android devices
Epic Games have announced the release of their tech demo Epic Citadel for Android, marking a step forward for graphical technology on mobile devices.
The announcement, made on January 29, is bound to generate excitement among fans of high-quality graphics on Android, who have been waiting for a port of Epic’s hit game Infinity Blade since the game was released in late 2010. Infinity Blade, apart from being a solid, well-constructed medieval monster battling game, is notable principally for its amazing, almost console-quality visuals. This was achieved thanks to Epic’s own Unreal Engine 3, which was used to build the game. Unreal Engine 3 supports many advanced graphical techniques including high dynamic range rendering (HDRR), dynamic shadows and per-pixel lighting.
Because of the success of Infinity Blade on other mobile platforms, an announcement like this could not have been far behind; the Unreal Engine has always been a very versatile engine for building games, supporting a wide range of platforms including consoles and handheld devices, as well as PCs. While Epic Citadel may not be a fully-fledged game like IB, it implements many of the same techniques that were used in that game.
Epic Citadel represents something of a ‘proof of concept’ for the Unreal Engine on Android devices; it’s not a ‘game’ per se, as there is not very much to do in the environment the player is presented with. However, the game world itself is constructed to show off the various strengths of its engine. The player is free to roam around the ‘citadel’ of the title in first-person view, visiting the various buildings and natural features which make up the game’s environment.
The game features some truly impressive visual effects. For example, there is a church that shows off the game’s reflections of both 2D and 3D objects. Advanced shadowing and tessellation are other features that the game is keen to show off: the tree outside the church has leaves which intersect sunlight individually and in real-time. When the game was originally released, this sort of technology had never been seen on a mobile platform before.
The fact that the game has been successfully ported to Android is a remarkable achievement, considering the wide range of technical specifications available for Android devices. More than anything, perhaps, EC shows the stability of the Android platform, and the adaptability of the Unreal Engine.
The benchmarking function of EC is perhaps its best feature. The player can test how powerful their new smartphone or tablet is, using the game’s engine to put the device through its paces. New tablets, like this tablet by Lenovo or tablets by Samsung or Google, offer high-quality screens, good speakers, and impressive computing power. This benchmarking feature is similar to the benchmarking test seen in the PC game F.E.A.R., and it’s good to see it implemented on a mobile device.
Fans may be expecting an Android port of Infinity Blade, but don’t hold your breath. The company currently has no plans to port the game, but quite frankly, in many ways Epic Citadel is the superior of the two. As a tech demo it’s more impressive than Infinity Blade, as it allows the player a completely free roam around its environment, whereas IB is much more linear.