We suppose the first question we should answer here is: What the hell is UDK? The short answer being it’s the Unreal Development Kit. The long answer is that Epic Games has decided to start giving away the tools and development kit that made games like Gears of War, Rainbow Six Vegas, Mirror’s Edge, BioShock, Mass Effect and.. well you get the idea. It appears that interest in the toolkit has been very high as Epic Games is touting 50,000 members who have downloaded it in the first week of its free status.
Now with all really awesome things comes a catch and some things you should know before downloading the UDK. First and foremost it’s a really complex set of tools and requires a certain amount of development know-how to do anything significant with it. With that said, Epic was kind enough to provide a small indie style game complete with its source code for you to break apart and study, not to mention the loads of tutorials.
Also another thing to note is that even though it’s free to download and use, it’s not free to use when you intend to sell your product. If you end up selling that indie game you make using the UDK keep in mind that you’ll owe $99 to Epic up front and 25% royalties on all money made beyond $5000. Even with that catch this could very well be a godsend for aspiring indie developers who now have a very powerful set of tools at their creative fingertips.