Those seeking to get into back-bedroom games production will be interested to hear that the popular Unreal Engine 3 has just been released for free in the form of the Unreal Development Kit. If you develop a commercial videogame with it, you pay Unreal 25% of revenue after you make your first $5000. Other than your own labour, there are no up-front costs involved in developing a game. Given that the next generation of gaming consoles are likely to be delayed by around two years due to the recession, the PC as an open gaming platform may hit a sweet spot by about 2012 — when industry revenues are expected to hit $50-billion worldwide.

The Unreal Dev Kit joins the ranks of a variety of free commercial-grade game development kits, ranging from Microsoft’s XNA to the royalty-free indie point & click engine Wintermute.