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Setting up UDK

Downloading UDK

This is the easiest part! Just go to

and download the latest. Don't worry, they're all labeled "beta". At this time, there is only a microsoft windows version of the UDK, even though resulting games can be played on multiple platforms.

A few things to keep in mind before you download:

  1. The download is 2 Gigabytes in size. It will install to either 1G, or 3.6G in size.
  2. Security concious people may wish to know ahead of time, that it will insist on Admin privileges to extract itself. (it will install some microsoft runtimes and things if you dont have them)

When you run it to self-expand, it will at some point ask you if you want a "UT Sample Game" install, or an "Empty Game".

This is not the simple choice that it sounds to be.

Differences between Empty Game and UT Sample Game

This choice is not merely between "extra content, or no extra content". The installer actually pre-configures things differently, based on your choices

Empty Game

If you choose "Empty Game", you will get an empty framework, that is all ready to go out of the box, for a newly developed game. The installer will add "Game" on the end of your chosen Project name.
The default project name is "Custom", so the default game will be called "CustomGame". You will not have to tweak any .ini files, if you choose to write code under this name.

Alternatively, if you know the name you want for your game name ahead of time, you can set it before you press the [Install] button. Just change

   Project Options
      Project Name   [YourProjName]
The install directory will then automatically change from C:\UDK\Custom to C:\UDK\YourProjName. However, source code will go in

There is another interesting side effect of running this install type: It will leave an icon for the UDK Editor in your Start Menu (if you arent running Windows 8, I suppose).
You might want to "Pin" it. But either way, there will be a permenant shortcut for you under

All Programs -> Unreal Development Kit -> Custom

UT Sample Game

Choosing this option for the installer, gets you a whole bunch of extra goodies, in the way of UT (UnrealTournament) toys. You get However!
UDK's .ini config files will then be configured to favour UT specifically.
If you wish to write your own independant game, there will be more hand-fiddly editing of .ini files required to get it going.


For a person who is brand new to UDK, choosing a single install type will lose you something either way.
If you choose only the Empty Game option, you will miss playing around with all the fancy sample maps.
If you choose the Sample Game, then setup for using your own game will be more complex.

Because of the above, if you have the space for it, I recommend running the installer twice, so you can choose both options, rather than one.
The nice thing is that the default location for each is slightly different:

(Note: If you change the default locations, it may not create the nice
shortcuts under the "Programs" menu for you, so keep the defaults)

The installs live completely independant of each other. Starting UDK or UDK Editor from either location, will only look at the config files in its own location.

So, other than you getting confused when seeing "(UDK is running)" on your taskbar and not being sure which one it is.. there's not much of a downside.

If you want to save a tiny bit of disk space(1 Gigabyte or less?), but still want all the UT assets and sample maps to play with, one option is to install them both to the same place.
If you do this, you'll probably want to install the examples first. The main thing is to make copies of the directory C:\UDK\UDK-2013-02\UDKGAME\Config, to somewhere else, for both cases. Then you can copy in "the right one" as desired, or at minimum, be able to compare them. The primary config file is DefaultEngine.ini

Drawbacks of double install

There are a few drawback to installing UDK twice, whether in the same place, or separately.

Every time you run the installer, you will get a new instance in your Windows "Installed Programs" control panel. There will be nothing to tell them apart, other than the install date.
Unfortunately, this seems like a double bug. First of all, it does not alter its name based on the install location. Secondly, even if you (re)install it over an existing one, with the same install type options, it will not remove the prior registration with Windows (at least in my tests on Windows 7)

Another drawback, is that it can be difficult to tell which copy of UDK is running.

The final drawback, is that only one program can be associated with map files, aka ".udk" files. So if you like doubleclicking on map files directly, choose your association carefully

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Written by:Philip Brown
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