Editor’s note: Ryan Smith is a longtime gamer and freelance writer who lives in Raleigh, NC. A graduate of East Carolina University with a degree in business and marketing, he has written in the past for WRAL Tech Wire and GameArgus.com. He currently plays Xbox 360 and PC as well as Nintendo DS. For story ideas, tips and feedback, he can be reached via e-mail (ryannicksmith@gmail.com)

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Tuesday at Adobe Max 2011 the Chief Executive Officer, Founder and Technical Director of Epic Games, Tim Sweeny, revealed Epic Games’ award winning game engine Unreal Engine 3 running on Adobe’s new Flash 11. This is news that will greatly affect the gaming industry in the months and years to come.

From the live demonstration of Unreal Tournament 3 (released previously on Xbox360, Playstation3 and PC) in an Adobe Flash environment, we can get an idea of just how powerful Flash Player 11 really is. (Watch a video here.)

As you can see, the “hardware accelerated programmable graphics pipeline” of Flash 11 provides some pretty amazing visuals right on our web browser, without the need for expensive console or PC hardware. Flash Player 11 allows for 1,000 times faster 2D and 3D graphics rendering than in Flash 10, allowing for frame rates of up to 60 per second.

On PCs, 60 frames per second is optimal. For an Xbox, the frame rate is at best 30 to 60.

“With UE3 and Flash, games built for high-end consoles can now run on the web or as Facebook apps, reaching an enormous user base,” said Sweeney, “This totally changes the playing field for developers who want to widely deploy and monetize their games.”

Since the Unreal engine is one of the most popular in the world across multiple platforms, this Flash 11 advance could be a true game changer. This advance is also more good news for Epic which just released its Unreal 3-based “Gears of War 3” to critical acclaim and more than 3 million in sales in the first week of release.

Epic hasn’t yet announced any Flash capable titles, but they have announced their next mobile game: Infinity Blade 2, the sequel to the highly acclaimed iOS title Infinity Blade that stretched the graphical limitations of both the iPhone and mobile gaming in general. Infinity Blade set the new standard for mobile gaming just like they have done for browser-driven gaming with Unreal Engine 3 via Flash 11.

Infinity Blade 2 – Another hit and a novella, too?

With the announcement of the iPhone 4S on Tuesday, Epic announced the coming of the sequel to the immensely popular 2010’s Infinity Blade. Infinity Blade set the record for sales when it came out for iOS on Dec. 9 2010, selling over $1.6 million in just four days and reaching over $10 million after six months. Utilizing the beautiful Retina Display of the iPhone 4, the first title proved just how amazing the iPhone’s graphics could be, thanks also to the Unreal Engine mobile version.

But with the announcement of the iPhone 4S, which features the A5 processor (roughly seven times more powerful than the A4 of the iPhone 4), we will be able to enjoy dynamic lighting and a revamped graphics engine, giving a much richer and more vibrant look.

A photo on Apple’s website about the new phone include a screenshot from Infinity Blade 2.

But it isn’t just about graphic improvements in Infinity Blade 2. Epic and its Utah-based subsidiary Chair Entertainment are also bringing some great gameplay changes as well. With a game world roughly 5 times larger than its predecessor, Infinity Blade 2 will also be adding roughly double the amount of items seen previously.

Also, players will not just be restricted to sword and shield combat styles, but also a double-handed axe or dual swords. From the looks of the new enemy types, you are going to need the additional weaponry.

In addition to better graphics, gameplay and replaybility, Infinity Blade 2 will bring us a deeper fantasy story, thanks to the effort of award winning Fantasy novelist Brandon Sanderson, author of the Mistborn series and the final three books of “The Wheel of Time.” To help build the storyline of the Infinity Blade setting, Sanderson and Infinity Blade’s developer Chair have released an E-Novella for the game titled “Infinity Blade: Awakening.”

I am a big fan of Sanderon’s work and if anyone knows modern fantasy, it is him.

Look for Infinity Blade 2 on the Apple App Store on Dec. 1 of this year.

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