Unreal have just released a preview version of Unreal Engine 4.11 today.
The following is a list of items updated within this release:
- Rendering Updates:
- New physically based shading model for realistic hair based on the latest research from film. It models 2 specular lobes, transmission, and scattering.
- New physically based shading model for eyes.
- New physically based shading model for cloth. This combines the standard shading model with a layer of velvet fibers. This layer simulates fuzz and fabrics.
- Capsule Shadows - We now have support for very soft indirect shadows cast by a capsule representation of the character
- Lightmass Portals - Skylight quality indoors can be massively improved by setting up Portal actors over openings. Portals tell Lightmass where to look for incoming lighting, they don’t actually emit light themselves. Portals are best used covering small openings that are important to the final lighting. Placing large Portals all over the level will dramatically increase build times.
- Per-vertex translucency lighting - There are two new translucency lighting modes available in the material editor which compute lighting per-vertex. PerVertex lighting modes use half as many shader instructions and texture lookups.
- We now have support for 3 lighting channels. You can set which channels a PrimitiveComponent or a LightComponent is in.
- We’ve integrated Intel's Embree ray tracing library into Lightmass and we got a huge lighting build speedup from it, as the majority of lighting build time goes toward tracing rays to figure out how light is bouncing.
- We’ve integrated updates to the D3D12 RHI to allow better CPU utilization while generating rendering commands in parallel.
- Improved quality and performance of the SubsurfaceScatteringProfile shading model.
- Circle Depth of Field post process - New Material Functions to render small particles with out of focus.
- Materials using separate translucency can now be rendered at a lower resolution, which can be useful to improve GPU performance for fillrate and overdraw heavy geometry (for example particle effects).
The resolution is controlled via a console variable, r.SeparateTranslucencyScreenPercentage, which expresses separate translucency as a percentage of current screen resolution.
- Static mesh LOD transitions now supporting dithering.
- Core Updates:
- CrashReporter Server available
- Garbage Collection up to 4x faster
- Dependency preloading - brings us close to seek free loading (90% of the time seek free), faster package loading
- UnrealHeaderTool makefiles - iterative UHT runs are 5x faster
- Platform Updates:
- Metal on Mac
- AppleTV support
- Fast Semantics on XboxOne
- VS2015 on XboxOne
- Code plugins for PS4
- Deterministic cooking "bug-finder" commandlet
- Background content precaching for most-recently-cooked-platform
- Editor/Tools Updates:
- Sequencer improvements
- New tracks: Shot/director, play rate, slomo, fade, material, particle parameter tracks.
- Improved movie rendering, exr support
- Improved/consistent keyframing behaviors, copy/paste keyframes, copy keys from matinee, 3d keyframe path display
- Master sequence workflow
- Spawnables workflow
- UI improvements: track coloring, keyframe shapes/coloring, track filtering
- Framework Updates:
- Anim Dynamics Skeletal Control for Animation Blueprints - allows dynamic motion to be procedurally added to skeletal meshes without having to use a full physics solution. This is accomplished using the new “Anim Dynamics” node in the Animation Graph of an Animation Blueprint.
- Networking Updates:
- Packet handler system
- Easy interception of packets for things like encryption, compression, etc
- Added CryptoPP, and packet handler components that support it out of the box
- Oodle integration (SDK purchase required)
- Client-side replays
- Blueprint Updates:
- The Blueprint search tool has been updated to support more advanced search functionality (to get more targeted results).
- Native C++ functions marked BlueprintCallable can now also be optionally marked as DevelopmentOnly. This new metadata allows calls to those functions to be disabled (compiled out) of all Blueprint function graphs in cooked/packaged builds without breaking the execution flow.
- Mobile Rendering Updates:
- Support for hardware instancing on iOS and many Android devices, reducing draw calls for Foliage and InstancedStaticMeshComponents.
- Improved reflections on mobile, optionally interpolating between up to 3 reflection captures and performing parallax correction
- VR Updates:
- Instanced Stereo Rendering
- Head Mounted Display Camera Refactor
- Stereo Layers
- SDK Updates: Oculus SDK 1.0, SteamVR 1.0, PlayStationVR SDK3 Updates, and Gear VR LibOVRMobile 1.0 (not yet updated for Preview 1, but will be by final release)
- Landscape/Foliage Updates:
- Landscape layer whitelisting, allowing you to control which landscape components should accept which layers in the painting tool
- Landscape layer usage view mode, to quickly see which landscape components are using which layers
- Support for baking WorldPositionOffset changes into landscape collision
Known issues in this release are:
UE-24744 Editor crashes when a Character is selected in Paint Mode.
UE-24721 Hot Reload fails to take effect when compiled from Xcode
UE-24716 Crash occurs selecting to open Session Frontend on Mac
UE-24715 Unplayable GearVR tracking sensitivity in First Person Template
UE-24699 Unable to build Linux editor ConvexHull2D file not found
UE-24650 Materials using separate translucency stop rendering if r.SeparateTranslucency is 0
UE-24590 Crash resetting Bound Bone in Anim Dynamics node
UE-24369 MAC: UI: Top half of the game client is not visible to users when Mac client is launched in fullscreen.
UE-23231 Can't Upload iOS build signed on PC
More details of the release are available here. You can download the preview release using the Epic Game Launcher.