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This article is a brief overview of the new Unreal Engine 4. I’m going to describe a basic features, cons and pros of the new game engine.
Author: Sergey Taraban
Recently in GDC 2014 new engine from Epic Games was presented – Unreal Engine 4. You can get UE4 for 19€ per month for Europe region and 19$ per month for all other world. Moreover you get full source code access via github. By the way, if you pay only first month and stop pay, you still will have access to game engine, but without updates and access to asset store.
Using UE4 you can build for: Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. Support of HTML5, Linux and Steam Machine was announced in future versions.
Engine are completely differ from UDK and Unreal Engine 3. Unreal Engine 4 are looks differ, has a lot of new features and gets rid of some disadvantages. Now it is more looks like a new engine which is more friendly for developer.
New features and differences from Unreal Engine 3:
- New user interface
- Simple projects creating and management
- Whiting code using С++ (minimum Visual Studio 2013 or XCode 5 required)
- No more UnrealScript
- Scaleform not included in Unreal Engine 4. A simple GUI system used. You can buy Scaleform separately and integrate it into engine (I don’t check it)
- Blueprint system for writing game logic. (In detail)
- Compiling С++ code on the fly (Hot Reload system. You don’t need to stop game if you need to change and recompile some code)
- Full source code access
- New material editor, cut scene editor and animation editor/li>
- Terrain redactor was improved. New terrain LOD system for huge terrains
- AI system for bots
- Full DirectX 11 support
- particle end visual effect editor – Cascade
- Improved postprocessing effects
- Documentation Unreal Engine 4
- Video lessons and tutorials for Unreal Engine 4
- Github projects
- Unreal Engine 4 EULA (License)
- Desktop PC or Mac
- Windows 7 64-bit or Mac OS X 10.9.2 or later
- Quad-core Intel or AMD processor, 2.5 GHz or faster
- NVIDIA GeForce 470 GTX or AMD Radeon 6870 HD series card or higher
- 8 GB RAM
The first acquaintance
After registration and payment you download a launcher. It verify your license and after that downloads and install engine sdk on your computer. Launcher has several insets:
- Marketplace – something like Unity Store
Engine size is about 7 Gb. Furthermore, you also can download Content Examples – 3 Gb. It is project with a lot of demo scenes.
Launch button run editor. First window is Project Browser (like Project Wizard in Unity). Here you can create new project or open resents. You also can create new project directly in editor.
Editor window is consisted of several standard windows: Scene Outliner, Content Browser, Details, Modes. You can add other elements using Windows menu.
When you double press on some object a special editor will appear.
It is a one of the major features of UE4.
Blueprint is a main game logical object. It is like prefab in Unity. It is a bundle of components with script on it. For editing this bundle Blueprint Editor is using. Behaviour logic of blueprint is wrote using С++ class or graph editor. You can use both.
Every blueprint has parent class. This class is C++ class. You can create your own C++ classes derivating from defaults (like Actor.h) and then use this custom classes in blueprint as parent class. This is how it works.
Test С++ project
I have created test TP_TopDown C++ project. Visual Studio will been opened automatically. If you want open this project in editor you need to compile it first in Visual Studio. Editor will been opened automatically after build complete.
Unreal Engine 4 editor has excellent synchronization with Visual Studio. You can use breakpoints during game play in editor. Intellisense also works fine.
Build from source codes
As I mention before, you have access to source code of Unreal Engine 4 in github and you can build it.
For build on Windows you need Visual Studio 2013 and June 2010 DirectX runtime
Generate project using GenerateProjectFiles.bat file in root folder. Then open project, chose Development Editor configuration and Win64 target platform. Build UE4 project only (right click on it and select Build from context menu)
Build take 20 min time. After build you can run RegisterShellCommands.bat with admin rights for connect unreal project files with compiled editor.
Unreal Engine 4 looks promising. In fact, for $ 19 you get the high-end engine with more functions than Unity and open source. Unreal has created a new ecosystem with a large number of training material, content store and developer community. The ability to write code using both native and visually editor.
Now, about the cons. The engine is still more professional and this is why it is more difficult to understand than Unity. Content store is very primitive. Also, there is no editor for Linux and there are only four plarform for distribution. Scaleform is not included in the Unreal Engine 4.
Author: Sergey Taraban
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