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24. March 2020

Epic Games have just announced a massive giveaway of asset packs from Project Nature.  This is a collection of trees, bushes, grasses and controlling blueprints for creating nature scenes in your Unreal Engine games.

Details from the Unreal Engine blog:

In collaboration with Project Nature, Epic Games has released over 20 environment and vegetation products for free on the Unreal Engine Marketplace.

The collection includes over 75 varieties of plant species, many of which were photoscanned from real-world vegetation, ranging from towering trees to the smallest of ground plants and flowers. Create a refreshing oasis retreat, escape to a serene meadow, or adorn a warm desert landscape for your audience to explore; with more than 550 optimized models, the sky, or the ground, is the limit on what you can grow!

The pack consists of:

  • Hundreds of optimized plant models and materials
  • The shader-based Project Nature Wind System 2.0
  • The Project Nature Interaction System 2.0, including replicated animations
  • A dynamic low-poly grass system
  • A dynamic ivy creation pack
  • And more!

You can download the assets using the Epic Game Launcher or via the website available here.  There is no time limit on this giveaway, all 21 packs are available free forever.  If you want to learn how to export from Unreal Engine to another engine or tool (such as Blender) you can learn more here.  Learn more about the asset giveaway in the video below.

GameDev News

12. March 2020

Today Epic Games have announced the acquisition of Cubic Motion, a real-time facial animation capture company.  Cubic Motion’s technology has been used by several of the most successful games of the current generation including SpiderMan and HellBlade, as well as powering several of Unreal Engines previous GDC and SIGRAPH presentations.   This company is a good fit for Unreal Engine and 3Lateral, the 3D character creation company Epic acquired last January.

Details of the acquisition from the Unreal Engine blog:

Today we are thrilled to welcome Cubic Motion to the Epic Games family. Cubic Motion is a longtime Epic partner and a leading provider of automated performance-driven facial animation technology and services for video games, film, broadcast, and immersive experiences. By joining forces, our teams are solidifying our commitment to advancing the state of the art in the creation of believable digital humans for all Unreal Engine users.

Cubic Motion’s talent will work hand in hand with 3Lateral, developer of innovative technologies that enable digitization of human appearance and motion at unprecedented levels of realism. 3Lateral joined the Unreal Engine team in January 2019 to lead development of the state of the art in real-time capabilities for the creation of virtual humans and creatures.

“We are delighted to be joining Epic Games and look forward with excitement to this next chapter in our story,” said Cubic Motion CEO Dr. Gareth Edwards. “Together, we are uniquely positioned to push the boundaries of digital human technology, bringing ever more realism and immersion to all forms of visual entertainment.”

“Digital humans are not only the next frontier of content creation, but also the most complex endeavor in computer graphics. With Cubic Motion bringing their computer vision and animation technology and expertise to our digital human efforts, Epic along with our team at 3Lateral are one step closer to democratizing these capabilities for creators everywhere,” said Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of Epic Games.

Cubic Motion’s existing Persona facial capture technology is currently unimpacted by the acquisition.  You can learn more about the deal in the video below.

GameDev News

10. March 2020

This quick tutorial will walk you through the process of exporting 3D models and more importantly textures from the Unreal game engine for use in other engines or in content creation tools such as Blender.  There is a complete step by step video included below.

The first part is identifying the model to export.  In the Content Browser, find the mesh object you want to export, then right click and in the menu select Asset Actions->Export…


A dialog will pop up, first asking where you want to export the asset to.  Pick an appropriate directory.  You will then be prompted for export details.


The default settings should be fine in most cases.  If you have trouble opening the generated file you may want to try a different compatibility mode.  You will get a low polygon “cage” mesh if you select Collision for the Static Mesh, uncheck that option if you do not want this collision mesh generate.  Finally click export.

And done…

Well, unfortunately not quite.  We still need to get textures out.  The easiest way I have found to to this is via baking.  In the Asset viewer window, with the mesh open look for the Bake Out Materials button


First let’s set the texture size for our baked textures:


Next click the + icon in Properties for each texture channel you want to export.  In this case we will do color, normal and roughness.


Now define each channel you want baked.


Once complete click Confirm and your textures will be baked.  The textures will appear in the same folder as the Mesh (as will new materials).  You will have 3 textures for each material channel on the object ( 2x materials x 3 textures in this case for a total of 6 generated textures ).  Unfortunately CONTENT BROWSER DOES NOT REFRESH automatically, so navigate to a different directory and back to see the generated textures.


Now right click each new texture and export it exactly the same way you did the FBX file earlier on.  You are now ready to use your model and textures in your application of choice.  In the video below we continue to show how to recreate the materials in Blender.

Art GameDev News

3. March 2020

Every month Epic Games give away several free items from the Unreal Engine marketplace and this month is no exception.  There are 5 items that are yours free forever, so long as you “purchase” them before the first Tuesday of next month.  There is also one permanently free item.  In addition to this months giveaways, Epic are running a 50% off Flash sale until March 6th.

This months free content includes:

Free For March

  • Ability Pack – Time and Space
  • Android Native Goodies
  • FPS Assault Pack
  • Phoenyx Anim Pack 3
  • Ultimate Archvis Kit

Free Forever

  • Linter V2

You can learn more about the giveaway in the video below.

GameDev News

13. February 2020

Nearing the end of 2019, Epic Games announced they had acquired texture provider Quixel and as part of that announcement, released 10,000+ high quality textures from the Megascans completely free for Unreal Engine users.  Around the same time Epic also announced the archviz product TwinMotion would be integrated into Unreal Engine 4.24.  Today, they took that one step further and released 1,000+ high quality textures from TwinMotion completely free for Unreal Engine users.

Details from the Unreal Engine blog:

Since Epic Games acquired Twinmotion last year and made the high-quality, easy-to-use real-time visualization solution freely available to the general public, we immediately started thinking about how we could best make it interoperable with Unreal Engine. While we’re excited to reveal more on how we’ll be integrating the two workflows together in the future, we wanted to begin bridging that gap today by offering Unreal users a free material collection that’s based on Twinmotion materials. There’s a wide variety of categories here including:

  • Bricks
  • Concrete
  • Fabrics 
  • Glass
  • Grass and dirt
  • Wood 
  • Plastics

Available now on the Marketplace, we’ve ensured that these rich and powerful master materials support the latest ray-tracing advancements and have used best practices to define how the nearly 500 PBR materials were used. This work includes:

  • Specific optimizations for ray tracing
  • Advanced shading techniques, such as parallax occlusion mapping for materials needing relief, which is useful for surfaces like bricks 
  • Ability to use an object’s UVs or to use tri-planar mapping, which can assist texture alignment by automatically aligning textures on objects that might not have been given proper UV coordinates 
  • Ability to define real-world scale

The materials are available in a large 8GB+ download on the Unreal Engine Marketplace.  You need to be running the most current version of Unreal Engine (4.24.2+ ) for the assets to work properly and expect the importation process to take a fair bit of time, as over 4000 shaders need to be built.  If you want to check it out but skip the long download and importation process, you can see the new materials in action in the video below.

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