Unreal Engine 4.5 Released!

Unreal Engine 2014-10-15 09:00 article  > All

New version of the great game and visualization engine is here. Read about new features!

The 4.5 release includes animation retargeting, automatic C++ hot reload, light map UV generation and streaming video textures. New real-time ray traced soft shadows allow for beautifully lit dynamic scenes, and screen-space subsurface scattering enables very realistic skin materials. Support for mobile platforms and consoles is better than ever, and hundreds of targeted improvements in this release allow complex online games to pass console certification tests. Finally, creating user interfaces has never been easier now that Unreal Motion Graphics is ready to use.

This release also contain:

  • a huge number of usability and learning enhancements
  • an all new tutorial system
  • and new game templates for Advanced Vehicles and Twin Stick Shooters.

Major New Features:

Ray Traced Distance Field Soft Shadows

  • There is a new dynamic shadowing method which works by tracing a ray through mesh distance fields to the light. This allows for soft area shadows with sharp contacts.

Click on image to enlargea.png

Here is a directional light with ray traced soft shadows. Long shadows get softer and self-shadowing in the distance is still detailed.


  • Point and spot lights. ‘Source Radius’ is used to control how large the light source is and therefore how large the shadow penumbras are. Ray traced shadows can be efficiently computed for longer view distances than traditional cascaded shadow maps (CSM). Distant shadows can be ray traced while nearby shadows are computed with CSM to get the best of both approaches.
  • Ray traced shadows are generally 20-30% faster on the GPU than cascaded shadow maps.


Distance Field Ambient Occlusion Improvements

  • The project rendering setting is now called bGenerateMeshDistanceFields, check that box and restart the editor to use any distance field lighting features.
  • The distance field generation has been made asynchronous. It will use most of the CPU’s cores but leave a few available for using the editor in the meantime.
  • Meshes no longer need to be closed to support a distance field.


Specular Occlusion

  • We now have some approximate specular occlusion for the sky. The Distance Field AO computation produces a bent normal, which is a cone indicating sky visibility at that point. Intersecting this cone with the reflection cone gives a shadowing term for the sky specular. This prevents leaking near occluders and works best on somewhat rough materials or wherever SSR is not valid due to screen space limitations.


Click on image to enlargec_1.jpg

Specular OcclusionExample


Screen-space Subsurface Scattering

  • A new “Subsurface Profile” shading model has been added! You can use subsurface scattering to create realistic skin materials and other awesome effects.

Click on image to enlarged.png

Left: no subsurface scattering, Right: realistic settings


Dynamic Shadows on Mobile

  • Dynamic shadows for movable directional lights are now supported on mobile platforms. Shadows are rendered using cascaded shadow maps with up to two cascades.


Unreal Motion Graphics (GUI Designer)

  • Unreal Motion Graphics is now ready to use and available by default! Simply create a new “Widget Blueprint” and start designing your UI. Of course, new features and improvements are still being added daily.


Other improvements:

  • Widgets in UMG and Slate can now be translated, rotated, scaled, and sheared
  • UMG now includes more robust animation support. Multiple animations can be created for each widget.Animations can be controlled at runtime in your widget’s blueprint graph. Keys can now be added to animations automatically via the details panel
  • Unreal Motion Graphics now supports automatic scaling for resolution-independent UI.
  • Unreal Engine now automatically “hot reloads” your C++ gameplay code after you compile in Visual Studio or Xcode
  • The new Advanced Vehicle template shows off a vehicle with double wishbone suspension, and a test track with terrain and many ramps and loops! It also works great with a VR headset.
  • The new Twin Stick Shooter Blueprint template is a perfect starting point for creating fast-paced, top-down shooter games
  • The new Media Framework allows you to play streaming video on UI widgets and textured objects in your levels
  • The tutorial system has been completely overhauled in order to provide a more immersive experience!

Read more on www.unrealengine.com.


Author: Unreal Engine Editor: Michal Franczak
Tags: unreal
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