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UE3 vs UDK vs UT3

Category: UDK
October 05, 2010

UE3 vs UDK vs UT3

Epic Games™, Unreal® Engine™ 3, Unreal® Development Kit™, Unreal® Tournament 3

Should you get UDK or Unreal Tournament 3? What are the differences between the two? Which one should you start with and why? What about UE3? What are the differences?

These are very common questions when it comes to deciding which way to go.

UDK or Unreal Tournament 3.

In this article I will cover the main differences between the two. This is an overview and does not include all the differences between UDK and Unreal Tournament 3.

I'll also cover a common misconception of UE3.

But, after going through the article, you'll be able to make the decision and you will know the difference between the two.

UE3 is Unreal Engine 3.

UDK and Unreal Tournament 3 are both powered by Unreal Engine 3.

Some people referrer to UE3 as Unreal Editor 3, but UE3 stands for Unreal Engine 3. There is no such thing as Unreal Editor 3; Unreal Engine 3 Editor would be more accurate.

So, Unreal Engine 3 = UDK and UT3.

Unreal Editor interface between the UDK and Unreal Tournament 3 are essentially very similar. There are differences of course, but if you work with Unreal Tournament 3 you'll have no problem working in UDK and vice versa.

Majority of tutorials for Unreal Tournament 3 Editor will work with UDK.

So lets get down to each version.


  • Free stand alone version of Unreal Engine 3.
  • Download at www.udk.com
  • New engine updates, and improvements being released almost on monthly basis. Including improved interface and improved lighting.
  • Purchase a very affordable license and sell your game with UDK.
  • Ideal to create stand alone games.
  • You can package your created maps and games as a stand-alone executable. Other people don't have to own or have UDK installed. Your exe will install everything needed to run the map.
  • Free to create any game, only limited by know how.
  • Limited amount of models and textures.
  • Limited amount of characters, vehicles and weapons
  • UDK was designed in mind for game designers and environment artists to take the base of UDK and create brand new custom content
  • If you want to successfully make something new with UDK, you'll have to create your own models using 3dsMax, Maya or XSI
  • UDK does not include Unreal Engine 3 C++ source code access


  • Purchase the game and editor comes with it.
  • Lots of models, textures, particles, vehicles, weapons.
  • Large community of maps and people creating maps using Unreal Tournament 3.
  • More modifiable with the content already included within Unreal Tournament 3. You'll have access to all the source code files for weapons, vehicles and characters in Unreal Tournament 3. Unlike UDK, where you will have access to very limited amount of weapons and vehicles.
  • Complete full game.
  • Ideal for level design. If you are not good with creating custom models and textures using 3d modeling package, Unreal Tournament 3 is good choice.
  • Few years old.
  • Has not been updated with new features like UDK and runs on the old build of Unreal Engine 3.

What I Like to Use

I personally prefer UDK. I love the new features, new lighting and constant updates on the engine. In my opinion it is the ideal solution for game designers and game environment artists.

If you are not familiar with a 3d application such as Maya, you can start learning Maya here, with a lot more tutorials coming your way.


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