Epic’s Unreal Engine 4.4 Gaming Platform Released
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Epic has released Unreal Engine 4.4, which includes the first preview release of Unreal Motion Graphics, the company’s new UI design and scripting toolset. Also in this version Behavior Tree Editor, their AI logic tool, is enabled by default and ready for use.
This latest version also offers improvements to the Persona Animation Editor and Paper 2D. Support for Android and iOS platforms has been improved, and C++ compiling is now faster. Also, a number of new Marketplace releases are ready for 4.4 including a Landscape Mountains sample, Matinee Fight Scene, Mixamo Animation Pack, and new Content Example maps for Paper 2D and Networking.
The Unreal Motion Graphics (UMG) is Epic’s experimental new interactive UI design and scripting tool which includes a new Widget Editor tool to layout UI on an interactive canvas and create and preview animations in real-time. UMG integrates deeply with Blueprints, to wire up events to trigger gameplay changes. UMG is built on top of the Slate UI system and inherits many benefits such as a large array of UI widgets and a rich set of features. Unreal Motion Graphics is currently 'Experimental' as of the 4.4 release. It is not fully production-ready and may not be backwards compatible.
The Behavior Tree Editor now allows developers the ability to edit AI state logic in an interactive graph editor. Behavior Tree Nodes has indicators to show the order in which they will be executed within their parent scope. Hovering over these indicators also highlights indicators at the same level in the tree.
The new Clear Coat shading model makes it easier to design materials that have a translucent coating on top. This can be used for multilayer materials where a translucent layer of film is over the surface of a standard material, either a metal or nonmetal. Specifically this functionality was designed to model this second class of smooth colored films over a non-colored metal. Examples included acrylic or lacquer clear coats, and colored films over metals such as soda cans and car paint.
All in all there are over 30 pages of updates to the platform. The current release is aimed at early adopters, and it has some rough areas:
- The UE4 Editor requires a desktop PC or Mac with a fast NVIDIA or AMD GPU
- Android hardware compatibility is limited
- iOS deployment currently requires a Mac
When releasing a product using UE4, developers sign up to pay Epic 5% of gross product revenue from users, regardless of what company collects the revenue. That means, for example, if your game makes $10 on the App Store, Apple may pay you $7, but you'd pay Epic $0.50 (5% of $10).
Epic also makes available custom terms on a case by case basis (for example, reducing or eliminating the royalty in exchange for an upfront license fee).
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