This week Epic Games has released the latest version of its industry-leading game engine—Unreal Engine 4.22.
The new game engine pushes the boundaries of photorealism and cinematic quality for real-time experiences. A prominent new feature is real-time ray tracing based rendering, which will help 3D artists improve build times by up to 165 percent and streamline workflows across both game design and enterprise workflows.
New in Unreal Engine 4.22
Real-Time ray tracing (early access) is a major new feature. Selectively ray trace just the passes that benefit from it, to achieve subtle, accurate effects that contribute to the realism of your scene, like true reflections and refractions, soft area shadows, and ambient occlusion–at blazingly fast speeds. Watch the 90-second “Troll” short film to view unprecedented cinematic-quality lighting using UE 4.22 ray tracing features.
Simultaneous multi-user editing (early access) is another big new feature. Collaborative editing allows multiple developers to simultaneously make and view changes to the same Unreal Engine project, facilitating effective collaboration that eliminates bottlenecks and inspires creativity.
Unreal Engine 4.22 also supports faster mesh drawing, utilizing a more aggressive caching of drawing information for static scene elements, and automatic instancing to merge draw calls where possible.
Unreal has licensed Molecular Matters’ Live++, and integrated it as a new Live Coding feature (Experimental). UE 4.22 also optimizes UnrealBuildTool and UnrealHeaderTool, drastically reducing build times and resulting in up to 3x faster iterations when making C++ code changes.
And there is also enhanced sound design. Among the new tools for creative sound design are TimeSynth (Early Access) for sample-accurate audio clip management; a spectral analyzer for Submixes; layered sound concurrency for better control of how many sounds will play simultaneously; and spectral analysis baking.
Virtual Production Features also include:
- New Composure UI: With a new UI in Unreals built-in compositing tool Composure, users can achieve real-time compositing capabilities directly within Unreal Editor ideal for on-set visualization.
- Sequence Take Recorder: Enables users to record animations from motion capture linked to characters in the scene, and from Live Link data, for future playback, enabling faster iteration and review of previous takes.
- OpenColorIO (OCIO) color profiles: Unreal Engine now supports the Open Color IO framework for managing multiple color spaces across a film, TV series, or animated project.
- Hardware-accelerated video decoding (Experimental): On Windows platforms, UE 4.22 can use the GPU to speed up the processing of H.264 video streams to reduce the strain on the CPU when playing back video streams, resulting in smoother video and allowing the use of higher resolution movie files and more simultaneous input feeds.
- New Media I/O Formats: UE 4.22 ships with new features for professional video I/O input formats and devices, including 4K UHD inputs for both AJA and Blackmagic; support for both 8bit and 10bit inputs; single-link, dual-link, and quad-link; AJA Kona 5 devices; HDMI 2.0 input; and UHD at high frame rates (up to 60fps).
- nDisplay improvements (Experimental): Several new features make the nDisplay multi-display rendering system more flexible, handling new kinds of hardware configurations and inputs. See the Childish Gambino case study to see nDisplay in action.
Animation sharing is also newly improved. This new plugin reduces the overall amount of animation work required for a crowd of actors. It is based upon the Master-Pose Component system, while adding blending and additive Animation States. The Animation states are buckets for which animation instances are evaluated. The resulting poses are then transferred to all child components part of the bucket.
And there is a new Microsoft Holelens Remote Streaming Support. UE 4.22 supports streaming to HoleLens, with full support coming to HoloLens 2 coming in May 2019. Read more here: https://www.unrealengine.com/
Google Stadia support is also now available. Unreal Engine supports Googles new game streaming platform, Stadia. With Unreals cross-platform capabilities, developers can access Stadia features through familiar interfaces for consistent workflows across any device. Read more here: https://www.unrealengine.com/
For a full feature list and additional details, visit: https://www.unrealengine.com/
About Unreal Engine
Epic Games Unreal Engine technology brings high-quality games to PC, console, mobile, AR and VR platforms. Creators also use Unreal for photorealistic visualization, interactive product design, film, virtual production, mixed reality TV broadcast and animated entertainment. Follow @UnrealEngine and download Unreal for free at unrealengine.com.
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