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19. March 2018

 

If you are an Unreal Engine game developer, Epic just announced a pretty sweet give away.  They just released $12,000,000 worth of art assets from the 2017 MOBA Paragon.  The assets include 20 AAA quality characters, fully rigged, textured and animated, ready for game deployment.  Additionally they released 1,500+ assets used to develop game levels. 

The assets are usable without condition so long as you are using Unreal Engine.  If you are using a different game engine you have no rights to any of these assets.

To see the assets in action be sure to watch this video.

GameDev News

14. March 2018


After several beta releases, Unreal Engine 4.19 is finally here.  This release includes a new raft of graphical features, a new dynamic resolution feature that should help PS4 and UE419XBox One developers scale across devices, a unified AR API that works on both Apple and Google devices, a new AR game template, a Maya and Motionbuilder live link plugin, sequencer improvements, improved landscape LOD, material layers and much much more.


Details from the release announcement:

Whether you are creating games, linear media, architectural visualizations, or product design tools, Unreal Engine 4.19 enables you to know exactly what the finished product will look like every step of the way. The new Live Link plugin seamlessly blends workflows between external content creation tools and Unreal Engine so you can see updates as you make changes to source content. And with the continued improvements to Sequencer, you can be the director with even more control of your scenes in real time.

When it comes to bringing the worlds in your imagination to life, the sky's the limit. Create breathtaking vistas in large, open worlds thanks to Landscape rendering optimizations. With the new Dynamic Resolution feature that adjusts the resolution as needed to achieve desired frame rates, those worlds will run smoother than ever before on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

It wouldn’t be a complete release without a mountain of workflow and usability improvements, and Unreal Engine 4.19 does not disappoint in this respect. Working with Material layers and parameters is easier and more intuitive. Features for debugging Blueprints are more powerful with the ability to step over, step into, and step out. You can now save content folders as favorites. Animation tools have been improved with pinnable commands, ability to have multiple viewports, and lots more.


As always, the newest version is available for download in the Epic Game Launcher. 

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Be sure to read the release notes for comprehensive details of this release.

GameDev News

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.

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