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12. June 2019


Epic Games, the makers of Unreal Engine and Fortnite, just acquired Houseparty a multi person video chat based social network.  Houseparty is available in application form for both the AppStore and Google Play.  The reason for the acquisition isn’t entirely clear, but couldn’t have been cheap as Houseparty was fairly well funded.

Some details were released on a Medium post by Houseparty:

Today is a big day for us at Houseparty because we’re joining the Epic Games family!

Houseparty is the synchronous social platform that lets you connect face-to-face with the people you care about most. By teaming up with Epic, creator of Fortnite and Unreal Engine, we’ll be able to help even more people connect with their friends, family, and peers.

“Joining Epic is a great step forward in achieving our mission of bringing empathy to online communication,” said Sima Sistani, Co-founder and CEO of Houseparty. “We have a common vision to make human interaction easier and more enjoyable, and always with respect for user privacy.”

“Houseparty brings people together, creating positive social interactions in real time,” said Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of Epic Games. “By teaming up, we can build even more fun, shared experiences than what could be achieved alone.”

So, why would a gaming company like Unreal Engine by a social video chat platform?  My best guess is to support their upcoming cross platform online services initiative although that is entirely speculation at this point.  If you are an existing Houseparty user, according to the FAQ in the linked Medium article, your life should remain unchanged in the near future at least.

GameDev News


1. June 2019


Every month for the last several months, Epic Games have made several assets available free on the Unreal Engine marketplace, and June 1st, 2019 is no exception.  You need to purchase the assets during the month to be able to keep them forever, but the purchase cost is zero.  Additionally, a few assets are made available each month permanently free on the market place.  Let’s take a look at the free marketplace assets for June…

June Free Assets:

Permanently Free Assets:


You can also find all of the above assets in the marketplace in the Epic Game Launcher.  Learn more about the June giveaway on the Unreal Engine blog available here.

GameDev News


16. May 2019


Announced back in December of 2018, Online Services is a collection of free and cross platform game engine agnostic services for multiplayer games, as battle tested in Fortnite.  Services such as achievements, player inventory, matchmaking and voice communications will be made available completely free.  The roll-out is over time, with the ticketing and game analytics services currently being live, with the remaining coming at some point in the future. 

Unfortunately there has been a bit of a delay:

As a result of our current prioritizations, several roadmap items are being delayed. Most notably, we are rescheduling the release of the Player Reports and Player Data Storage services. To provide more detail, we are moving the roadmap to a Trello board, which you can bookmark and revisit at your convenience.

It’s not all bad news though, there is one major new change that should be happily received.

We’re also working to open up the identity and social services we built for Fortnite to support cross-play in partner games without requiring the use of Epic accounts or other Epic dependencies.

This should make the use of Epic’s Online Services a great deal more appealling to many developers… once they finally arrive.  If you are interested in signing for the SDK click here.  To learn more, watch the video embedded below.

GameDev News


14. May 2019


Epic Games have acquired Twinmotion, a archviz solution built on top of Epic’s Unreal game engine technology.  Even better, Twinmotion is being made available for free Until November of 2019, with the license remaining valid past that date.

Details from the announcement blog:

We’re excited to announce that Epic Games and Twinmotion have joined forces! Powered by Unreal Engine, Twinmotion, a high-quality, easy-to-use real-time visualization solution, is now part of the Epic family. And the best news? Our new version of Twinmotion is absolutely free to download and use for all customers until November 2019.


Twinmotion makes compelling design visualization easy! Whether you’re in the architecture, construction, urban planning, or landscaping industry, its highly intuitive interface enables you to assign PBR materials, set up lighting, and even choose the season and the weather with just a few clicks. Populate your scene from a library of ready-to-use assets, including animated characters, and trees whose foliage blows in the wind. With as few as two clicks, you can create paths of walking people or moving cars, and then vary their appearance to suit your scene.


Twinmotion can be downloaded using the Epic Game Launcher, under the newly added Twinmotion tab.  Learn more about Twinmotion on the recently updated UnrealEngine site.  You can see Twinmotion in action in the video below.

GameDev News


10. May 2019


While Unreal Engine doesn’t provide C# support out of the box, it does provide an exceptional plugin system, so it was only a matter of time until C# plugins arrived.  Today we are looking at the open source USharp extension, which is based on the MonoUE plugin project.  Using this plugin, UE4 gains C# functionality with the following features:

  • Write C# using UObject exposed types (AActor, AGameMode, UActorComponent, etc). Define new UObject types and inherit existing ones. Exposed C# types can then be used in (or extended by) Blueprint.
  • Access to Unreal's reflection system (UClass, UFunction, UProperty, etc).
  • Hot-reload
  • Dynamically switch between .NET Framework, .NET Core and Mono for an improved debugging / runtime experience without having to reopen the editor
  • Supports Windows, Mac and Linux

There are however some downsides:

  • This project depends on a lot of PInvoked functions which could potentially behave differently on different C++ compilers. This project may not work on some target platforms.
  • Like mono-ue this project depends on lots of generated code and IL weaving. It probably isn't the best for performance and there is a huge amount of generated code everywhere.
  • The weaved IL currently seems to break edit-and-continue debugging (issue with cecil?)
  • There is currently too much marshaling on structs / collections (list, map, set). Marshaling needs to be redesigned to avoid copies of entire collections / structs on trivial calls between C# / native code. Additionally marshaling of delegates needs to be redesigned (various issues such as being referenced as a copy of the delegate).

If you are interested in checking out USharp, you can find the installation instructions here.  One potential problem to be aware of, the project creator doesn’t seem to have attached a license to the code repository!  While this code is not production ready, if you intend to use it in any capacity, I would make sure the license is suitable.  See the results of the plugin in action in the video below.

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