Getting my hands on Unreal Engine 4
THATS RIGHT FOLKS!! I got the chance to try out the awesome Unreal Engine 4. First thing i gotta say is, it’s obviously much much better than current UDK we use. Unreal Engine 4 uses deferred shading instead of forward rendering that is used in UDK so the rendering is now much more beautiful than UDK. Unreal Engine 4 supports advanced Direct-X 11 features such as HDR reflections, physically based materials, IES lighting and many more. UnrealScript has been completely removed and we now have C++ support. But dont worry because if you know UnrealScript then it wont be much of a problem migrating to C++ (Although you must keep pointers in your mind while programming). Once you start using C++ in UE4 you will eventually love it because it is much more faster than UnrealScript. Epic also made a “awesome-cool-useful” feature called Hot Reload. If you watched Allan Willards UE4 walkthrough you might know this. For those who dont know…in UDK you have a UnrealScript class that does something in your game. To change the values you’ll have to exit the editor –> start an IDE –> make the change –> compile –> start the editor….the cycle continues. But in Unreal Engine 4 you dont have to exit the editor! Just click the asset -> open Code View –> double click the function which will open in Visual Studio and edit. You dont even have to save the file! Because when you compile inside UE4 the file is automatically saved. Once the compilation finishes the changes are immediately applied in the engine. The good thing is you can play while all this is happening! Changes will be applied right inside the game. Cool uh!
Unreal Engine 4 is incredibly powerful and faster when dealing with Dynamic Lights. If you have used UDK then i dont have to tell what happens when you throw hundreds of dynamic lights. But in UE4 (since it is deferred shading) it can handle “thousands” of dynamic lights perfectly. Materials are now physically based shaders which gives much more realistic look for your objects. Another awesome new feature is the new Instant Game Preview. Previously in UDK when you click play, you have to wait until the map is saved. This is no longer the case in UE4. Click play and BAM!. There you are in the level right inside the viewport. No more saving of maps. You can also quickly switch between fullscreen and normal view easily just by pressing a key.
But i haven’t yet talked about the two things i really liked in Unreal Engine 4. They are “Asynchronous Light Building” and “Particles“.
Asynchronous Light Building:
To put simply, light building now works in the background and while the engine is doing the light building, you can keep on playing inside the editor. Once it is finished engine will ask if you want to keep it or discard. If you choose to apply, then static lighting is applied. If you are wondering if SVOGI (realtime GI) is included then sorry. Unreal Engine 4 still uses Lightmass system. But before you get that frowny face let me say that even if SVOGI is not included, there are other ways to simulate that effect.
Particles have been greatly improved in Unreal Engine 4. We now have high-density GPU particles with collision and dynamic particle lights. Dynamic Particle Lights are a great improvement and can add a lot to your scene. For example you can have the gun muzzle flash cast particle lights which gives a far more realistic look than what we see in UDK. To see particle lights see below screenshots.
And…The most important feature of Unreal Engine 4 is Blueprints. You can create your characters, vehicles etc all inside the editor (without exiting!) using Blueprints. I will post more information about Blueprints in the next post (hopefully with a video!).
So for now…enjoy these screenshots. 🙂
More screenshots and videos to come…:)