The Unreal Engine, a fabled gaming engine originally developed in 1998 for the first-person shooter game Unreal, is known for its high degree of portability and has become frequently used by independent game developers as the backbone on which they power their games. Adobe Flash, a multimedia platform for web pages, is known for the exact opposite: Flash games, to this point, have been primarily 2D and, as Steve Jobs pointed out, are typically unstable.

Adobe Flash isn't typically a platform considered for building a high-performance game on, which is why many were stunned when Epic Games, the developer of the Unreal Engine, demonstrated the Unreal Engine 3 running in a browser-based Flash environment at the Game Developers Conference.

Epic Games announced Flash support for the Unreal Engine 3 back in October, though it hadn't been seen in action until recently. The group used the Game Developers Conference to turn the idea of powerful 3D environments running on the Flash platform into a reality.

Mark Rein, Epic Games president, reportedly started the demonstration at this year's conference by showing a demo of iOS Epic Citadel running in Safari. He later showed the game Dungeon Defenders, the popular indie game, running within a web browser. After both demonstrations, he moved on running Unreal Tournament 3 in a web browser.

Rein reportedly said that the company has no plans to release Unreal Engine 3 on flash. You hear all this talk about HTML5 and all this stuff, but Flash is the technology that can today enable console quality experiences in your web browser, Rein said according to Ars Technica. He simply wanted to show that running such a high-quality game was possible in Flash.

Epic Games released two YouTube videos with the game running on Flash. The videos mostly focus on the environments that Epic Games was able create. The game appears to run rather smoothly. We're a little disappointed that Epic didn't show more action, but the inclusion of massive 3D levels alone is quite a feat.

Last year, Epic took a PC with three Nvidia GTX 580 graphics cards running with a huge power supply, which cost about $2,000, and this year, they were able to run the same demonstration that ran on a single Nvidia Kepler graphics card reports VentureBeat. The reduction in cost, power and size is a testament to how quickly technology is advancing--even in high-powered PCs.

Epic Games is currently working on Unreal Engine 4, which may be shown later this year. It's likely to be running on next-generation hardware reports VentureBeat, whenever that hardware comes out. Rein alluded to the fact that Unreal Engine 4 will likely run on next-generation gaming consoles.

Unreal Engine 3 Support for Adobe Flash Player - Epic Citadel

Unreal Engine 3 Support for Adobe Flash Player - Unreal Tournament 3

Unreal Engine 3: Official Samaritan Demo