Epic’s Unreal Engine 4 has now become completely free to use for aspiring developers. It’s a move clearly designed to lure indie developers away from popular alternatives such as Unity, making Epic's engine a tempting choice for those looking to create a game.

At last year’s Game Developer’s Conference (GDC) event in San Francisco Epic revealed it would be dropping its massive license fees in exchange for $19.99 monthly subscriptions. It’s now gone a step further with this move, offering up the entirety of Unreal Engine 4 free of charge, with Epic skimming off 5% of the royalties from the games when they launch.

You can download the engine and use it for everything from game development, education, architecture, and visualization to VR, film and animation,” writes Epic’s Tim Sweeney. “When you ship a game or application, you pay a 5% royalty on gross revenue after the first $3,000 per product, per quarter. It’s a simple arrangement in which we succeed only when you succeed.

This is the complete technology we use at Epic when building our own games. It scales from indie projects to high-end blockbusters; it supports all the major platforms; and it includes 100% of the C++ source code. Our goal is to give you absolutely everything, so that you can do anything and be in control of your schedule and your destiny. Whatever you require to build and ship your game, you can find it in UE4, source it in the Marketplace, or build it yourself – and then share it with others.

Unreal Engine 4 has powered precious few titles on the market, with the exceptions being a few titles like Xbox One exclusive D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die and the terrible procedural horror Daylight. Despite this Epic’s engines have typically been a huge deal, and looking forward to the future there’s plenty of big name details arriving on it, including Fable Legends, Dead Island 2, and Epic’s own Fortnite.

For game devs this could be massive news, with no barrier whatsoever for aspiring creators to begin working on a game. UE4 is a powerful tool that is great for 3D gaming so it should be interesting to see what the dev community can dream up.

Will you be flexing your game developing muscles with Unreal Engine 4?