The Rumour Mine: Gameloft considering Unreal Engine 3, Tiger Woods PGA 12: The Masters, and Dark Nebula, Episode Three

Could heavyweight Gameloft start leveraging Epic's engine in 2011?

The Rumour Mine: Gameloft considering Unreal Engine 3, Tiger Woods PGA 12: The Masters, and Dark Nebula, Episode Three

Tiger Woods is set to make a comeback, one of 2010's best games is getting a sequel in this new year, and Gameloft may partner with one of the most impressive tech companies in the gaming business - 2011 is off to a roaring start.

No question about it, 2010 was a banner year. 2011 has the potential to be even greater if this week's rumours are any hint. Developers and publishers alike are seeking to push the bounds of iOS gaming with better graphics and more creative gameplay.

What are you hoping to see happen with iOS gaming in the year ahead?

Dark Nebula, Episode Three coming to iPhone this spring

The straightforward and satisfying ball-rolling platformer Dark Nebula, Episode Two earned a spot on our best iPhone and iPod touch games of 2010, but the party is just getting started. Episode Three is in development and scheduled for released this spring.

1337 Game Design, the developer behind the young series, hasn't formally announced the third episode, but based on the success of the previous two instalments it's a forgone conclusion. Expect high resolution graphics, more than a dozen new stages, new enemies, and gyroscope support for iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod touch devices.

iPad doesn't look like it'll be in the mix for Episode Three, which can be seen as a good thing. Rather than forcing an accelerometer-based game onto the larger device, the game is best served on the smaller, but equally powerful iPhone and iPod touch.

Gameloft in talks to license Unreal Engine 3 for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad

Unreal Engine 3After the bombastic Infinity Blade, interest in Epic Games's Unreal Engine 3 for iOS devices is at a high. A number of developers have expressed interest in leveraging the technology, but Gameloft is the most surprising party at the table.

According to a source with knowledge of the private discussions, Gameloft has expressed interest in licensing Unreal Engine 3 for use in iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad games. Given the cost and time required to develop new graphics engines in-house and the frequency with which they need to be created due to the rapid release of new, more capable handsets, Gameloft is considering Unreal Engine 3 as a realistic alternative.

This would free resources within Gameloft to focus on crafting games rather than engines. It's a smart strategy, as long as the development teams within the company are able to learn the ins and outs of Epic's software. Furthermore, it's unclear how many Gameloft titles will utilise Unreal Engine 3. At the very least, Gameloft could test the engine with a single game.

Expect to hear more on this soon, if the deal goes through.

EA Mobile prepping Tiger Woods PGA 12: The Masters for iPhone and iPad

Tiger Woods PGA 12: The MastersWondering what happened to Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 for iPhone and iPod touch? Tiger Woods is what happened. After the star golfer's personal troubles translated into professional problems, the game mysteriously disappeared from EA Mobile's release schedule.

It looks as though the game might pop back up as the reconfigured Tiger Woods PGA 12: The Masters. Building from the work done on the previously announced 2010 game, this new 2011 release not only promises more advanced graphics and additional courses, but a separate iPad version to be released alongside the iPhone and iPod touch version.

While the silence has been unnecessary, the delay sounds like it was a good decision. If Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters packs more content, better graphics, and iPad support on day one, then the wait was worth it. We'll know for certain as the spring release for the console versions approaches.