Epic looks to streamline development with new tools and rendering features

GDC 13: Unreal Engine 4 – All the details here

Extensive details of the tools and rendering features available in Epic’s latest development tech Unreal Engine 4 have been revealed.

Having announced today that UE4, architected to power PC and next-gen console titles, is also scalable to mobile and web development, including HTML5, Epic has given developers new information on how they can harness the tech.

The middleware and development giant is aiming to reduce productivity friction with its latest game engine, with one of the demos shown to Develop put together by an artist, requiring no technical input, who was also able to use the scripter to make a game.

The engine’s toolset includes Blueprint visual scripting with Blueprint debugging, while a new content browser has been created, now including dynamic previews, to help developers find, organise and make game assets.

The new C++ Unreal Slate user interface meanwhile has been designed to enable a “fully customisable” Unreal Editor, while the new Hot Reload function has been created for compiling C++ code on the fly.

The engine also harnesses Nvidia’s new PhysX tech to provide a unified physics and collision system.

Expected inclusions are new material and landscape terrain editors, with Epic also championing a "superior” and “robust” content pipeline.

Other dev tools include a new Persona animation system for animation adjustments and previews during setup, and a new AI and navigation system, with the ability to update the nav mesh in real-time.

Epic has also gone into depth on the rendering features included with Unreal Engine 4, which it stated makes “extensive” use of advanced DirectX 11 features.

Keeping in line with its ambition to reduce productivity friction and streamline development, new features for rendering include adaptive detail with artist-programmable tessellation and displacement, while developers can use thousands of dynamic lights with tiled deferred shading.

As can be seen in the new Infiltrator demo, UE4 includes full-scene HDR reflections, with support for varying glossiness, and a new material layering system to help designers increase the detail of characters and objects.

Epic said developers can also take advantage of dynamically lit particles, which can emit and receive light, while IES profiles can be used for “realistic” light distributions.

You can view new sci-fi Unreal Engine 4-powered demo Infiltrator running in real-time on the engine, here.


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