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1. February 2018


Unreal recently started releasing preview versions of Unreal Engine 4.19 with some great new features and apparently one stealth one… glTF support.  This is actually excellent news for the industry as a whole, as the current standards FBX and COLLADA or convoluted, proprietary or both.  A good, game ready, cross platform, cross application open andgltf free 3D file format is desperately needed and more and more it seems that glTF may finally be that format.


User vlbanco did an in-depth post on his experiences with the new format on the Unreal forums.

My tests have resulted in this:
Basic static mesh support works. Skeletal meshes and animations are not supported yet.


Each of the objects in the scene will become a single static mesh in unreal. This is good for a modular pack, but very bad for complex multiobject files. An option to merge objects would be great (like in FBX import). This fails spectacularly if you try to import one of the complex models from https://sketchfab.com/features/gltf , like the unity robot model (he imports as a ton of tiny objects) The same happens with the drone mode;.


Interestingly enough, Blender export works by default, without any setup. There are no more scale ******** to deal with as with FBX, and also it will use the correct axis by default, so no flipped models or badly scaled models. Great improvement over FBX. It "Just Works"


All objects in the scene will import as static meshes, with their scale and position reset. If you have any scale or position at "object" level in blender, when importing into unreal this will be reset. An option to apply the scale/position would be great, but working around it is absolutely trivial.


Smooth groups export perfectly by default, exactly as they are with blender (no more import normals or not as with FBX). Another great improvement over FBX
Whole scenes cant be imported well, as every object will just become a separated static mesh centered at origin, but without the "scene hierarchy". The importer having the option to create a blueprint that holds the scene information would be a huge plus, and would allow one to create a whole scene in blender and import it as 1 object into ue4.


The material/texture import is a lot better than i expected, and its what makes this a superior format and workflow over FBX (for static meshes) right now. A blender cycles node tree will get completely translated to UE4, as long as it follows the roughness/metallic workflow. The fact that the importer already supports textures and recreates the material is awesome.


Do keep in mind, this is very much an experimental feature, but for many Blender artists, it’s already sounding like a superior experience.  Let’s hope skeletal animations get added soon!

GameDev News

23. January 2018


Epic just released a pretty awesome pair of assets packs completely free for Unreal Engine developers.  Soul:City and Soul:Cave are both AAA quality packs containing maps, models, textures, blueprints and more for creating a futuristic city as well as a cave environment.  The only real catch is the license requires the assets be used only in Unreal Engine projects, which seems reasonable enough all things considered!

Details of the two packs:

Soul City
Texture Sizes: 256, 512, 1024, 2048UE4Ass
Collision: Yes
LODs: No
Number of Meshes: 419
Number of Materials and Material Instances: 234
Number of Textures: 198
Supported Target Build Platforms: Desktop, Mobile
Usage: Licensed for use with the Unreal Engine only.


Soul Cave
Texture Sizes: 256, 512, 1024, 2048
Collision: Yes
LODs: No
Number of Meshes: 173
Number of Materials and Material Instances: 167
Number of Textures: 171
Supported Target Build Platforms: Desktop, Mobile
Usage: Licensed for use with the Unreal Engine only.


You can read more about the release and download both packs from this link.  For a quick video showing the assets in action check here or the video embedded below.

GameDev News

16. January 2018


Epic have just released the first preview version of Unreal Engine 4.19, Preview 1.  Of course this is a preview release and is certainly not meant for use in a productionimage environment!  This release adds dynamic resolution support, Vive Pro support, Live Link animation plugin improvements, general animation improvements and a number of fixes and quality of life improvements across the entire release.  As always the latest release can be installed using the Epic Game Launcher.


Full details of the release from the Unreal forums:



  • Rendering Updates:
    • Temporal AA Upsampling. This is a spatial and temporal upscaler that happens in the Temporal AA pass to produce consistent geometry sharpness from varying primary screen percentage from 50% up to 200%.
    • Dynamic resolution. To go with Temporal upsampling, Unreal Engine 4.19 also introduces Dynamic Resolution to automatically adjust screen percentage according to previous frame GPU workload.
    • Landscape Rendering optimizations.
      • The LOD system was changed from distanced based to be specified in screen size, like static mesh.
      • The LOD distribution was also changed to give more coherent triangle size in distance.
  • VR/AR Updates:
    • VR Resolution Settings. Significant change from Screen Percentage to Pixel Density (see blog)
    • Vive Pro Support. All existing UE4 content that supports SteamVR is compatible with HTC’s newly-announced Vive Pro.
    • Motion Controller Component Visualization. Motion Controllers in Unreal Engine 4.19 now have a new Visualization category.
  • Audio Updates:
    • Upgrade to Steam Audio Beta 10
    • Oculus Audio plugin has been updated and includes a reverb plugin, as well as support for Android and playing back Ambisonics files.
    • Added Resonance Audio plugin
    • First-Order Ambisonics File Support. First-order Ambisonics files can now be imported into Unreal projects and played back using Spatialization plugins.
    • Improvements to UE4’s native VOIP implementation. Spatialization, Distance Attenuation, Reverb, and custom effects for a player's voice can now be controlled using the UVoipTalker scene component.
    • Pre and Post Source Effect Bus Sends Types
    • Added support for Multichannel file import
    • Enabled bAllowAnyoneToDestroyMe on audio components
    • Added ability for submixes to define their own channel format. Currently Stereo, Quad, 5.1, 7.1, and first order ambisonics are supported.
  • Animation/Physics Updates:
    • Live Link Plugin improvements
      • Added UI to Maya, displaying connection status to UE Editor
      • Stream active camera as EditorActiveCamera
      • Display currently streamed subjects
      • Allow add and removal of streamed subjects
      • Refactored entire plugin so that streaming has a manager and streaming objects/interfaces
      • Reworked editor update hook so that streaming is more robust and facial rigs / leaf bones now correctly update
      • Live Link now integrated as a first class feature into Persona
      • Added Virtual Subjects to Live Link
    • Animation improvements
      • Added “Hide Unconnected Pins” for button BreakStruct nodes
      • Added control of Post Process Animation Blueprint
      • Copy Post node now supports copying curves as well as Bone transform
      • Fixed motion blue when changing skeletal mesh properties
    • Animation Tools Updates
      • Added auto-range feature to cloth view ranges
      • Additional Skel Mesh Component Debug info
      • Exposed Sequence Recordings Settings in Animation Editors
      • Improved Clothing Visualizations
      • Clothing Create Menu now defaults to use the Skeletal mesh Physics Assets
      • Improved bounds following in Animation Editor Viewports
      • Added Pinnable Command List to animation editors
      • Added the ability to follow and orbit specified bones
      • Added up to 4 separate viewports to all Animation Editor viewports
    • Editor and Tools Updates
      • Added Contect Menu to HLOD level nodes in HLOD outliner treeview
      • Added a hotkey and command for toggling Post Processing in Preview Scenes
      • Added a new shortcut for switching foreground and background colors in the Mesh Painter
      • New Proxy LOD System (Experimental). An experimental plugin for producing low poly LOD with baked materials for multiple meshes. The new system is used by HLOD and is a replacement for Simplygon.
      • Added support for RGBA Masks in Mesh Painter
    • Physics Updates
      • Saved BodyInstance runtime memory
      • Added “Show Only Selected Constraints” to the physics asset editor
      • Added Ctrl+T keyboard shortcut to toggle between Body and Constraint Selection
      • Added “Set Use CCD” function for changing Continuous Collision Detection option at run-time
    • Sequencer Updates
      • Added Anim BP Weight control
  • Sequencer Updates:
    • Workflow improvements
      • Level sequence dynamic transform origin. You can now offset the actors controlled by sequencer transform tracks with a global offset at runtime
      • Copy/Paste/Duplicate Object tracks. You can now copy/paste/duplicate object tracks and their child tracks;copy a spawnable to the same level sequence or another sequence; copy a possessable from one level sequence to another and the object will be bound to the same object in the other level sequence; copy from one UMG animation to another.
      • Improved Sequencer Editor performance. Sequencer is now able to compile partially or completely out-of-date evaluation templates from the source data as it needs.
  • Gameplay/Scripting Updates:
    • Blueprint Debugging: Call Stack Display. A control that displays the current Blueprint call stack has been added to the Developer Tools menu. Double-clicking entries in the call stack will focus the corresponding node in the Blueprint Editor.
    • Blueprint Debugging: Single stepping improvements. You can now ‘step into’ (F11), ‘step over’ (F10), or ‘step out’ (Alt+Shift+F11) when stopped at a Blueprint breakpoint, making debugging sessions quicker and easier.
    • Improved Tools For Optimizing Disk Size. Several tools have been added or improved to help analyze disk/download size for packaged games.
  • Tools Updates:
    • Folder Favorites for the Content Browser. You can now favorite any folder in your Content Browser to be easily accessible. Can be enabled/disabled using the View Options for Show Favorites.
    • Material Parameters Editing and Saving. New to the Material Editor and the Material Instance Editor is the ability to save parameter values to a new Child Instance or to a Sibling Instance.
  • Core Updates:
    • Encryption/Signing Key Generator. It is now possible to configure .pak file signing and encryption fully from the Editor via a single unified settings panel.

GameDev News

26. September 2016

 

Daydream is Google’s project to bring VR to the Android platform.  Two of the biggest game engines, Unity and Unreal, just announced Daydream support in preview forms.image

 

First Unity’s announcement:

We’re excited to announce that native Daydream support is available as of today! It brings a more streamlined workflow, significant optimizations and reduced latency beyond the Google VR SDK for Unity released at Google I/O. No prefabs, scripts or manual manifest modifications are required to get started – simply enable VR and add Daydream as a targeted platform and begin making your own virtual worlds.

Unity’s native support for Daydream aims to solve the hard problems for you. To get optimal performance and latency from the platform we have done a deep integration with the Daydream SDK to leverage the platform’s asynchronous reprojection and VR performance mode. We have also made it easy to switch in and out of VR mode so that your applications can easily expand to the Google VR audience.

Not targeting just Daydream hardware? You can also have your application target Google Cardboard with native support. Applications which target Cardboard will work on older devices so that your application can reach as many users as possible. At this time, Cardboard support is exclusive to Android with iOS Cardboard support coming soon.

You can find more information and download the Technical Preview here. For questions or feedback head over to the new Daydream forum.

Google has also created a Unity SDK which expands Unity further by providing spatialized audio, Daydream controller support, utilities and samples. Please see the script reference and download pages for more details.

 

And now Unreal Engine:

Back in May during Google I/O, Epic announced its day one support of Daydream, Google’s exciting mobile VR platform for high quality, mobile virtual reality which is coming in Fall 2016 and will provide rich, responsive, and immersive experiences with hardware and software built for VR.

Well, after gathering developer feedback and evolving its resources into a suite of powerful tools, Google has announced that Google VR SDK 1.0 has graduated out of beta and is now available on theDaydream developer site

As pointed out in the official announcement post, the updated SDK simplifies common VR development tasks so developers can focus on building immersive, interactive mobile VR applications for Daydream-ready phones and headsets while supporting integrated scanline racing and interactions using the innovative Daydream controller.

With this release, significant improvements to UE4’s native integration have been implemented that will help developers build better production-quality Daydream apps. The latest version introduces Daydream controller support in the editor, a neck model, new rendering optimizations, and much more - many features of which will be rolled directly into Unreal Engine 4.13.1 with the rest being availablenow through GitHub and rolling into 4.14.

Interested in accessing Google Daydream SDK 1.0? UE4 developers can do so right now by downloading the source here. We can’t wait to see what types of content the Unreal Engine community dreams up!

 

As mentioned in the Unreal Engine announcement, Google also released the 1.0 version of their new GoogleVR SDK.

GameDev News , ,

1. September 2016

 

Hot on the heels of last week’s 4.13 preview release, Epic have just released Unreal Engine 4.13 final.  As with all UE4 releases, this one of course adds new features and functions to make your game even prettier such as mesh decals, GPU morph targets, refraction improvements and more.  Probably the biggest new feature in Unreal Engine is the Sequencer, the NLE or Non-Linear Editor, now built into the engine making movies and cutscenes much more capable.  From the Unreal Engine blogUE4 announcement:

 

WHAT’S NEW

Unreal Engine 4.13 has arrived! In this version you'll find numerous improvements across the board.

Many new rendering features have been added, such as mesh decals, Blueprint drawing to render targets, GPU morph targets, refraction improvements and high quality, optimized noise functions are now available to materials. Shadow map caching allows for more shadow-casting dynamic lights in a scene than ever before!

Sequencer, our new non-linear cinematic editor, has been updated with a slew of new features for high-end cinematography. Live recording from gameplay has been significantly improved. Also, you can now transfer shots and animations back and forth from external applications. You can see these features in our SIGGRAPH Real-Time Live! 2016 demonstration.

Alembic support allows you to import complex and interesting vertex animations. And the new Physical Animation Component lets your characters respond realistically to physical forces by driving their skeletal animation through motors.

For mobile developers, dynamic shadows have been optimized, full-precision materials are supported, and custom post-processing is now possible. OpenGL ES 3.1 can now be used on Android, and binary shader caching will improve your iteration times.

VR games can now use capsule shadows, and stereo instancing has been optimized. Oh, and check out the new VR Template Project! It's a great example of how to use motion controllers to interact and navigate in your VR game.

Want to build your levels while in VR? Unreal's VR Editor has been improved with support for mesh and foliage painting, a new transform gizmo, and VR color picking. Finally, you now can instantly play your game right from VR! You can turn on "Enable VR Editing" in the Experimental section of your Editor Preferences.

 

Of course Unreal Engine releases always come with massive release notes, and this release is not exception.  To read the full details of this release click here.

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